Chelsea captain Reece James has been charged by the Football Association after allegedly confronting the referee following the Blues’ defeat to Aston Villa.
The England full-back missed Sunday’s game through injury and watched on as Chelsea’s poor start to the season continued with a 1-0 loss at Stamford Bridge.
The hosts had Malo Gusto sent off after his booking for a challenge on Lucas Digne was upgraded to a red card following a VAR review and James has now been charged with confronting referee Jarred Gillett.
“Reece James has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 following Chelsea’s Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday, 24 September,” the FA announced in a statement on Wednesday.
“It’s alleged that the defender used improper and/or insulting and/or abusive words and/or behaviour towards a match official in the tunnel after the game.
“Reece James has until Friday, 29 September to provide a response to this charge.”
As a result of the Villa loss, Chelsea sit 14th in the table and have won just one of their six Premier League games under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
James was given the captain’s armband by Pochettino ahead of the new campaign but came off injured just 76 minutes into the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on the opening weekend.
Meanwhile, Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi says he will hug Moises Caicedo and Robert Sanchez with pleasure ahead of their reunion in the Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea.
Midfielder Caicedo and goalkeeper Sanchez joined the Blues for a combined £140million last month, with defender Levi Colwill also returning to Stamford Bridge after a season-long loan deal with the Seagulls.
The trio could all feature when Chelsea host Brighton under the Stamford Bridge lights on Wednesday night.
But, speaking ahead of his side’s third-round visit to west London, De Zerbi said: “I am looking forward to seeing them and always happy to meet my former players.
“Now they don’t play with us, but I will hug them with pleasure.”