Zlatan Ibrahimović to miss Chelsea match after three-game ban for elbow
Zlatan Ibrahimović to miss Chelsea match after three-game for elbow

Zlatan Ibrahimović to miss Chelsea match after three-game ban for elbow

The Swede was charged with violent conduct by the FA after an elbow on Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings. He'll miss games against Chelsea, Middlesbrough and West Brom.

Harry Robinson

Zlatan Ibrahimović will miss Manchester United's FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea after being handed a three-match ban for an elbow on AFC Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings. 

The Swedish striker reacted violently having been stamped on by Mings in Saturday's 1-1 draw. Neither player was sent off.

After referee Kevin Friend reported that he had not seen the incidents, the Football Association charged both players with violent conduct. Manchester United accepted the charge on Tuesday afternoon.

Zlatan to miss FA Cup quarter-final

Ibrahimović will miss a tough Cup quarter-final next Monday against favourites for the Premier League title, Chelsea. While his ban does not carry into Europe, and therefore he can feature against Rostov this, and next, Thursday, in the UEFA Europa League, he will also miss Premier League matches against Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.

The 35-year-old, despite his age, has been vital for the Reds this season. No other player in José Mourinho's side has scored more than seven league goals, while Ibrahimović scored his 25th and 26th goals of the season in the EFL Cup Final two weeks ago.

However, the suspension provides an opportunity for young strikers Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, both of whom's game time has been limited by Ibrahimović arrival in the summer.

Opportunity for Rashford and Martial

Mourinho has been criticised by some for his overuse of the Swede. No other Premier League player has played more minutes in all competitions, while Rashford and Martial have been shunted wide onto the left wing or been used only as substitutes. 

The three domestic matches now allow Mourinho to see whether his two younger strikers can capitalise on the immense number of chances the Reds have created this season, the creativity of Paul Pogba key in the increase since last season.

While Ibrahimović's return has been astonishing, he has missed 16 "big chances" as described by Sky Sports, the most out of any Premier League player by a long way. If Rashford or Martial can be more clinical, they may be given more chances up top in the weeks after Ibrahimović's return.