Chelsea’s Reece James will only serve a one-match suspension after receiving a straight red card against Liverpool at Anfield last weekend.
This means that the full back will only miss the blues’ game against Aston Villa this weekend but will be available for the trip to Tottenham the following weekend.
It will be recalled that James prevented Liverpool from scoring in the game as the ball hit his thigh and the ricocheted off his arm. The cameras caught him moving his arm towards the ball just as it hit it.
By the letter of the law, Anthony Taylor was right to dish out a penalty and a straight red card to James. However, the debate about whether the double punishment of a penalty and a red card, especially for such a reactionary incident, should be in the rules at all, is topic of a different discussion entirely.
Contrary to beliefs that straight red cards usually attract a two-match or three-match ban, there are instances when a straight sending-off only leads to a one-match suspension.
According to the rules, a one-match suspension is given when a player receives a red card for a second yellow card or a straight red for a professional foul.
A two-match suspension is given for a straight sending-off as a result of dissent while a three-match ban (which can be increased to four or more, depending on the seriousness of the incident) is served for a straight red as a result of violent conduct or dangerous tackles.
Professional fouls are generally described as deliberate acts of foul play intended to bring an advantage to the offender’s team, usually to prevent a goal-scoring opportunity or goal for the opponent.
Reece James’ handball offence was ruled to deny a goal for Liverpool and according to IFAB Laws of the Game, it is a red card offence.
Going by the definition given to a professional foul, it is the closest category that James’ dismissal can be fixed into as dissent, violent conduct and dangerous tackle are very far from the incidents that resulted to his sending-off.
César Azpilicueta is likely to be the man to replace James this weekend with Callum Hudson-Odoi another possible option.