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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

FA reject Zokora red card appeal

Tottenham's problems in defence have intensified following Didier Zokora's unsuccessful appeal against his dismissal this week - and news Ledley King has not trained for a fortnight.

The Football Association upheld Steve Bennett's decision to give Zokora a straight red card against Manchester City on Tuesday night for his two-footed tackle on Elano.

'A claim for wrongful dismissal from Tottenham's Didier Zokora was rejected,' confirmed a statement from the FA.

The Ivory Coast international is a midfielder by trade but has been used by head coach Juande Ramos at centre-back, such is the injury crisis at White Hart Lane.

He will miss Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at rivals Arsenal, joining Ramos' long list of absentees.

Ricardo Rocha and Michael Dawson face a race to be fit for the lunchtime kick-off at the Emirates Stadium, while any hopes King making a surprise return have been dashed by a thigh complaint.

The Spurs skipper made his comeback from knee surgery in a reserve game against Fulham earlier this month and travelled with the squad to Portsmouth last week but could not play.

'He's gone two weeks without training because he is injured,' said Ramos. 'He started feeling the knocks in the Fulham reserve game.

'Footballers get injured but, for us at the moment, they all seem to be defenders. It's difficult to take but you have to accept it.'

Gareth Bale and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are Ramos' other long-term injuries. It means he will have a makeshift defence as he looks to mastermind Spurs' first victory over Arsenal since 1999.

The Spaniard has seen Robbie Keane and Zokora dismissed for contentious decisions recently and was upset over the FA's decisions to uphold the red cards.

'If a player commits a bad foul, it has to be red card, but if there is no foul, the player cannot be taken off the pitch,' Ramos said.

'These are very important competitions and by doing this you are ruining games because it gives an excessive advantage to the other team.

'As a result, we lose the passion and what is good about the match.'

Ramos is no stranger to intense derby atmospheres and was hit by a bottle thrown by Real Betis fans earlier in the year when he was coach at Sevilla.

'I've forgotten about it,' he said. 'I hope it never happens again on a football pitch.'

Sir Alex Ferguson complained this season about abuse his staff received on the bench at the Emirates Stadium, and figures such as Harry Redknapp and Gordon Strachan have addressed the issue as a problem the game faces.

Ramos is bracing himself for a hostile atmosphere at the home of Spurs' rivals.

'It's something that happens in all countries and not just England - people will throw insults at their opponents,' he said.

'As long as it doesn't involve violence then that is something normal.

'I have a slight advantage over everyone else because I don't know what they are saying! It's not going to bother me in the slightest.'

Ramos insisted the ugly incident with Betis fans did not affect him, adding: 'It didn't affect my confidence.

'The following week I was on the touchline.'