Chelsea have pronounced themselves “extremely disappointed” after striker Diego Costa was handed a three-match ban for violent conduct during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Arsenal. Chelsea reeled Arsenal in – the visitors finished the game with nine men after Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were sent off – and got a result which will get their season underway.
Gabriel still faces a separate charge of improper conduct for his reaction after being shown the red card by referee Mike Dean.
BeIN Sport’s Carrie Brown asked: “Of course Arsenal will feel hard done-by, they will claim you should have had a player sent-off in Diego Costa but this is a player that’s famed for riling other players isn’t it?”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had a contrasting view and hopes referee Mike Dean will look again at Costa’s actions after filing his match report by today.
The Gunners centre-back had been dismissed for violent conduct after kicking out at Costa at the end of a continued dispute between the two players.
Jose Mourinho was seething when Costa was retrospectively sanctioned in February for treading on Liverpool’s Emre Can, part of a perceived “campaign” against his side which included a Sky Sports montage entitled “Costa’s Crimes”. “He is a really nice guy”.
Zouma posted a clarification on Twitter on Monday saying: “Sorry for any confusion, English is not my first language & I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating”.
Zouma replied: “No, we’re not surprised because we know Diego”. “Kurt is deeply upset that his words have been used to attack a team-mate and a friend”.
That incident, when the forward put his hands in his marker’s face and then swung his left arm round and made further contact, had effectively provoked the clash with Gabriel, who had initially appeared to intervene as a peacemaker only to become embroiled in his own spat with the Chelsea forward.
The FA had earlier confirmed that Arsenal had been successful in their appeal for Gabriel’s three-game ban to be withdrawn.