There’s just one more round of matches to go before those players sitting on the Suspension Tightrope can breathe a little easier. The deadline is the second Sunday of April (this coming weekend) and, if the quintet currently holding nine yellow cards apiece can avoid another caution by that date, the limit is extended to 15 bookings until the end of the season.
Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini was the latest player to topple off the Tightrope, after earning his tenth caution of the campaign in the 3-0 defeat at Goodison. Flamini misses this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final showdown with Wigan and Tuesday evening’s Gameweek 34 home fixture against West Ham and will be available for selection for the Gameweek 35 trip to Hull.
The Frenchman is the only player currently serving a suspension in the Premier League, after Ramires completed a three-match ban last Saturday. Chelsea’s midfield battler still has cause for concern, though, as he is one of the five players under threat of an automatic two-match suspension should be earn a yellow against Swansea this weekend. Steven Gerrard has to avoid a booking in Liverpool’s crunch encounter with City at Anfield to steer clear of trouble, whilst Cheick Tiote (a new entry, thanks to his caution in Saturday’s home humiliation at the hands of United), Phil Bardsley and Gareth Barry also need to be on their best behaviour.
This is particularly critical to those eyeing up the latter two for their respective pair of fixtures next week. If either Bardsley or Barry is cautioned during Sunderland’s home game with Everton on Saturday, they would miss the second match of their double Gameweek 34, where the Black Cats make their way to the Etihad and the Toffees host Crystal Palace at Goodison.