Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien was hit with a three-match suspension on Monday after he was sent off during Chelsea's 2-0 win over Derby on Saturday.
Essien was shown a straight red card after he pushed Derby's Kenny Miller in the face during stoppage time.
The Ghana international will now miss his team's games against West Ham, Sunderland and league-leaders Arsenal, which will hurt Chelsea's chances of closing the gap on the Gunners.
Chelsea is expected to appeal the suspension, and manager Avram Grant feels as though his team has become a target for red cards.
"I don't like to speak against the ref, I haven't done it many times in my life and I don't want to do it now," Grant told the club's website.
"But I have a feeling, and I was told it before I came to Chelsea, I think that we are an easy target for red cards."
Chelsea has won its last four away contests to climb into fourth place, and is now five points back of Arsenal and just two behind second-place Manchester United.