Well what an interesting turn of events right before the first half ended. Chelsea’s Diego Costa and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny get into it, well Costa makes Koscielny get into it and it resulted in Gabriel getting a red card.
The play started when Diego Costa kept badgering Laurent Koscielny by putting his hands in Koscielny’s face. Then to really drive the point home, Costa chest bumps Koscielny to the ground (although that may have been a little bit of theatrics).
It is at this point that Gabriel came in to defend Koscielny and got into it a little bit with Costa. Nothing more than light pushing and trying to give the appearances of an actual fight. The result was that Costa and Gabriel received yellow cards.
Then things spilled over. Costa kept harassing Gabriel by slapping his back and getting close to him to the point that Gabriel stepped on Costa’s foot. Costa then went straight to referee Mike Dean and after some badgering, Dean gave Gabriel a straight red card.
Alright, dissecting the play. One, Diego Costa really lives up to being the player you love to hate. His consistent face grabbing of Koscielny was certainly worthy of a yellow. Maybe an arguable red card could’ve been called but it was yellow nonetheless. Gabriel gets a fair yellow for trying to get into it with Costa.
Afterwards, on the Costa/Gabriel play, Gabriel stepping on Costa’s foot is definitely worth getting sent off. Even if Costa keeps harassing you, you still can’t do that and expect to stay on the field. On the other end, Costa should’ve been sent off with a second yellow for the constant infringement on Gabriel. Everyone with eyes can see what Costa is doing, he has just as much of a role in escalating the situation as Gabriel is. They both should be off, both teams are down to 10 and the game can continue.
You can see in the clip above, the thing with Diego Costa is that he can go from schoolyard bully to teachers pet in less than a second. He’s talking to Gabriel just trying to get a response and get him pissed off to send him off. And once that happens, like a light switch, he goes straight to Mike Dean wanting Gabriel sent off. It’s low life, it’s borderline dirty, it completely spits in the face of soccer being “the beautiful game” but I gotta give Costa credit. It works, and it works well.
Costa didn’t do anything as a player today. He didn’t score the goals or get any assists or made any game saving stops, but he put in a Man of the Match performance for changing the complexion of the game and giving Chelsea the advantage to win the game. That in itself is a viable skill that helps his team so while I hate that style of play, I can’t fault Costa for doing that. It’s like when a child never gets disciplined by their parents for doing something bad. That kid is going to turn into a spoiled brat who feels they can get away with murder. Diego Costa is that spoiled brat but in his mind, he’s been getting away with it so why not keep doing it.
For Diego Costa to change his style (if he ever would), it needs to go to the referees. Diego Costa is regarded as one of the dirtiest players in soccer but yet he hasn’t been sent off in three years. Yes, there are times where Costa doesn’t get calls, mainly penalties due to his reputation, but there are also times where he has done things where Costa deserved to be sent off and hadn’t.
If the refs won’t discipline him, like a bully on the schoolyard, the players may have to take care of it themselves. Sooner or later, Costa is going to come across the wrong guy and instead of the light pushing we see a lot of the time, he is going to get punched. That player will get fed up and forego the long suspension they would inevitably receive and try to break Diego Costa’s jaw.
For Diego Costa’s sake, he just better thank his lucky stars Joey Barton isn’t in the Premier League. He would do something like that. But, considering Costa, he may trade a punch for getting someone sent off so he may want Barton in the EPL.
Chelsea won 2-0 with goals from Kurt Zouma and Eden Hazard as Santi Cazorla earned a second yellow to leave Arsenal to end the game with nine on the field.