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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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FA clear Wright-Phillips to face Boro

Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips has been cleared to play against Middlesbrough on Saturday after the FA delayed taking disciplinary action against the midfielder.

The speedy winger was charged with violent conduct following his retaliatory kick at Rory Delap against Stoke City on Saturday and was expected to start a probable three-match ban this weekend.

However, the FA have granted City an extension to the normal deadline for responding to the charge, which ran out on Thursday evening, meaning Wright-Phillips can play at Eastlands this weekend.

The disciplinary evidence must now be submitted by 18.00 GMT on Friday, with the case to be heard on Monday at 11.00 GMT.

Although Delap was sent off at Stoke Wright-Phillips' retaliatory strike went unpunished and City Manager Mark Hughes believes any retrospective punishment would be unfair on the 27-year-old.

"Yes, what Shaun did was retaliation. But was it violent?" questioned Hughes. "It was a human reaction to a situation that was not of his making."

"Shaun was hacked down from behind and the guy followed through on him. In my mind that is violent conduct.

"To have the same three-game ban as Rory Delap is incorrect but that is what we are faced with at the moment."

Having only discovered Wright-Phillips was going to be brought to account on Wednesday evening, Hughes felt it was an unfair disruption to his plans that a player as important as the former Chelsea man could be ruled out at such short notice.

"It is not an ideal situation," said Hughes. "It could have been dealt with more quickly and we will highlight that point because by Friday afternoon I am trying to prepare a team for an important Premier League game without knowing if one of my players is available or not."

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