Jan Molby

Make an example of Fellaini

Jan Molby

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It is important that the Football Association makes an example of Marouane Fellaini after his disgraceful behaviour in Everton's draw with Stoke at the weekend. They have no other option.

It was immediately clear that he deserved a ban for headbutting Ryan Shawcross in the Stoke box but then it emerged that he had been involved in two further incidents: an elbow to the head and what looked like a punch to the face.

The headbutt in itself is a clear three-match suspension but I think there will be games added on to that for his punch as well. Suggestions that it could be as many as nine matches seem somewhat unlikely but I do think we could be seeing as many as four or five.

I don't think it will be a repeat of the Joey Barton situation and Fellaini won't be hit with three separate punishments, but it will be topped up from just the headbutt. The second incident - the elbow to Shawcross's head - is a little weak for me.

He put his elbow in his face but there was no venom to it. I am not trying to condone what he did of course, but I just think the Football Association may leave that incident alone. The headbutt and the punch certainly merit strong action though.

The FA has got to be careful as it will set a precedent. It has been under a lot of pressure recently so it will be interesting to see how it handles this situation.

I was never somebody who lost my head as a player and I find it difficult to understand Fellaini's thought process. You know that people are going to try and wind you up, and when you play Stoke you know it will be a physical contest, so it is amazing that he reacted as he did.

Shawcross is doing what he does at set-pieces: he is holding and pulling. But it is quite staggering that Fellaini reacted like that. In the modern game there are so many cameras about that it is impossible to get away with such awful behaviour. They will catch you once, let alone three times. It was crazy. I don't know how he thought he was ever going to get away with it.

There is certainly something about Stoke that brings out the worst in players though. At every opportunity they take it right to the edge. Shawcross, to his credit, hasn't reacted, but that is all part of Stoke's ploy: they rile opponents, not the other way around.

Stoke are very clever in the way they hold and pull players at corners and I wonder if the FA will ever look at that. After all, the Fellaini incident might bring Stoke's methods into the spotlight. He will be dealt with, but Stoke's defending at set-pieces will be the same next week. I am not trying to have a go at Stoke, but that is also part of the problem.

What is certain is that Fellaini will be greatly missed by Everton heading into a hectic period of the fixture calendar and David Moyes must feel very let down. The Everton boss, commendably, was very forthright in his criticism of Fellaini after the game but really he had little option. That was genuinely how he felt - and it was the same when he criticised Phil Neville for diving in the Merseyside derby.

After his manager came out so strongly, Fellaini also apologised quickly and some people are saying it was a cute move by Everton, but I don't think it will help them in the slightest when the FA decides on its punishment.

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