The Offside Treble – Carlton Cole v Twitter, Steve Bruce v Gus Poyet and Jonny Evans + Papiss Cisse are in the dock

It’s all gone a bit “Ace of Spades” in the Premier League this week, which is the music I’d like you to imagine you’re listening to, as you read this. Unfortunately for these guys, the same rules as Fight Club do not apply, and much like EastEnders, everyone’s talking about it . . .

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Cole load of bother

Starting this week’s Royal Rumble is West Ham striker Carlton Cole, who incurred the wrath of the FA and a £20,000 fine, after sending a less than charming response to a Spurs fan via Twitter. The fan tweeted: “Hi @CarltonCole1 when your own team-mates don’t kick the ball out when you’re lying injured for 2 mins, you think it’s time to call it a day?” Cole responded in terms that I don’t think will make it past my sub-editor, but let’s just say he used both the bad words.

In fairness to Cole, why should he put up with Twitter gyp? I think we broke ourselves with the internet – it’s improper to channel unsolicited insults at someone over the web in the first place, so can you really complain if the response is hostile? But this is all too familiar territory for Cole; and this is not the first time he’s been fined £20,000 for his improper tweeting ways. It would probably be cheaper to stick with Facebook.

They think it’s brawl over . . .

Over at the KC Stadium, it was handbags at dawn for Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet as their respective teams, league stragglers Hull City and Sunderland, met on Saturday. Poyet was charged with improper conduct – which apparently covers a vast range of crimes – for kicking a water bottle after midfielder Jack Rodwell was booked for diving.

Poyet then squared up to opposition manager Bruce, who was restrained by assistant referees and coaching staff as they presumably shouted, “Leave it Steve – he’s not worth it!” While he dismissed the antics as a “heat of the moment” kind of a deal, Poyet refused to comment, stating “what happens on the pitch stays there”. Which is categorically inaccurate, as we’re now demonstrating.

Another spat

Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse could be in trouble after an altercation in Wednesday’s match at St James’ Park. In a break from the usual football pitch skulduggery of pulling, pushing, stamping and diving, the pair decided to shake things up a bit by appearing to spit at each other.

Though neither player was booked at the time, they could face six-match bans, pending the outcome of referee Anthony Taylor’s report. Cisse could get even longer, in light of a sending off for violent conduct back in December. The exchange of bodily fluids was met with condemnation among the footballing world, with Match of the Day pundit Dietmar Hamann urging someone to think of the kids – fair play, it is rank. Unsurprisingly, neither manager could comment on the incident, having not witnessed it, but United boss Louis van Gaal doesn’t “think Jonny Evans is a spitter”.

Read more from Jen Offord here!

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