Arsenal were tonight left counting the cost of losing their composure during the closing stages of the Carling Cup final as Emmanuel Adebayor's red card was upheld and defender Emmanuel Eboue was charged by the Football Association for his part in the mass brawl at the Millennium Stadium.
The melee had been sparked following a confrontation between Chelsea midfielder Mikel Jon Obi and Gunners skipper Kolo Toure during the closing stages on Sunday, with players and coaches from both sides becoming involved.
Once calm had finally been restored, Toure and Mikel were both shown straight red cards by referee Howard Webb, with Adebayor also dismissed following consultation with his assistant.
The Togo striker - whose reaction to the decision prompted a separate FA charge today - had lodged an appeal, which along with Mikel's was rejected.
Adebayor, like with Arsenal centre-back Toure, will now serve an immediate three-match ban, ruling them out of tomorrow night's FA Cup fifth-round replay at Blackburn.
As it was Mikel's second sending off of the season, the Chelsea midfielder will see out an extra game's suspension.
It is, though, today's separate charges levied on both clubs as well as Adebayor and Eboue individually which could prove more costly, particularly for Arsenal.
Eboue has been charged with violent conduct for striking Chelsea's Wayne Bridge during the melee, while Adebayor, whose appeal today was not based on mistaken identity, has also been cited following his reaction to being shown a red card.
Each club can expect a heavy fine, while if found guilty under the FA's disciplinary system, Eboue and Adebayor are likely to face suspension, which would come at a crucial stage of the season.
It overshadowed what had been a fine football match in Cardiff, which Chelsea won despite Arsenal taking an early lead and the subsequent loss of their captain John Terry to a head injury.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger tonight expressed his regret over the incident.
'I feel we should not have reacted at all. Overall we are sorry for what happened. When you do not behave like you want to then you have to apologise,' Wenger told the club's official website, www.arsenal.com.
'We want to focus on playing football well. We want to deal well with the frustrations [of football] and want to be exemplary.
'But we also want to remind people that we have been top of the fair play table twice in the last few years.
'Also this year we are the team who have committed the least fouls in the league and been the most fouled against.'
Wenger added: 'What happened was a one-off for us in the last three years and we are sorry for that.
'It was a good game and that was an incident of one minute - but we do not want to behave like we behaved and that is it.' It remains to be seen how either club or the individual players will respond.
Eboue, though, will discover his fate later this week at a heading of the FA disciplinary commission.
A statement from the FA read: 'Arsenal and Chelsea have been charged with misconduct for an incident involving players and officials from both clubs towards the end of the Carling Cup final on Sunday February 25.
'The charge alleges that the clubs failed to ensure that their players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from provocative and/or violent behaviour.
'The clubs have until March 14 to respond. There are no individual charges against officials from either Arsenal or Chelsea.
'Arsenal's Emmanuel Eboue has been charged with violent conduct for striking Chelsea's Wayne Bridge. He has until 6pm tomorrow to respond, and the case will be heard by a disciplinary commission on Thursday on the basis of documents and video evidence.
'His team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor has been charged with reacting aggressively and failing to leave the field of play immediately after being sent off.
'He has until 6pm tomorrow to respond to the charge and his case will be heard by a disciplinary commission on Tuesday, March 6.
'As this charge is outside the jurisdiction of the match officials (he had already been sent off), he has the right to a personal hearing.'
All three players will, however, still be available for their respective sides' Champions League last 16 second leg clashes next week, with that being a UEFA competition.