Pep Guardiola’s hopes of turning the title race back on have taken a huge blow as Bernardo Silva has been banned for their next game. In case you weren’t aware, the Citizens’ next game is a showdown with Chelsea.
The Portuguese ace was slapped with this punishment by the FA regarding a controversial tweet he made about team-mate Benjamin Mendy. The former Monaco ace tweeted an image of a young Frenchman alongside an image of the brand mascot of Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos and asked the question "Guess who?"
That post caused a huge stir, with anti-discrimination charity Kick it Out accusing him of racial stereotyping and called for action to be taken. The FA initially charged him with misconduct last month but has now been hit with a one-game ban.
They explained why his suspension was restricted to one match and not the maximum of six games, saying in a statement: "Bernardo Silva has been suspended for one first-team competitive fixture, fined £50,000 and must complete face-to-face education after admitting a breach of FA Rule E3.
"The Manchester City midfielder's social media activity on 22 September 2019 breached FA Rule E3(1), as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, and constituted an "Aggravated Breach", which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin."
"The tweet had been intended as a joke between team-mates and was taken in exactly that spirit by the intended principal recipient, Mr Mendy."
The FA also added: "This Commission is not bound to pass a suspension of at least six matches for this aggravated breach by reason of the fact that the communication was via social media."
Guardiola, who backed Silva and insisted that his action wasn’t racist, will now have to make do without a key player for their crucial clash with the Blues. The reigning Premier League champions currently sit in fourth spot and trail leaders Liverpool by a whopping nine points ahead of their game with Lampard’s side.