Did Chelsea player Diego Costa ‘cheat’ Arsenal at the Emirates?
Arsenal lost 0-1 at the Emirates to Chelsea, who even without Jose Mourinho cannot lose to the Gunners. The game went Chelsea’s way when Arsenal’s beanpole defender Per Mertesacker was beaten for pace by Diego Costa. The German slid in. He missed the ball. Did he catch Costa? It’s hard to tell. The TV cameras don’t always pick everything up. But Costa made the most of it, heading to the turf and tumbling like a round cheese down a Gloucestershire hill.
Arsenal fans say Costa dived. Well, they would do. But what do the experts in the Press say?
As usual, when things happen in a rush, there was the debate about whether Costa was taken out, clipped, dangled a trailing leg or merely fell over taking evasive action. It really doesn’t matter. Mertesacker’s tackle was wild and did not allow Costa to continue his run on goal. Of course, the same could be said of a challenge made by Nicolas Otamendi on Michail Antonio during Manchester City’s match with West Ham on Saturday, and that was only judged to be a yellow card.
Mertesacker stretched into the challenge that he had to make but Costa was too quick and, in the blink of an eye, the Chelsea striker was rolling into a series of exaggerated rolls and everybody inside the stadium knew what was coming next. The referee, Mark Clattenburg, flashed the red card. He had no other option.
The German dived in, stretching out a leg to try to reach the ball, but he made contact, however slight, with Costa. The Spain forward went tumbling, rolling theatrically, his right hand touching his right knee as he fell. Mark Clattenburg had no hesitation and rightly deemed Mertesacker to be the last defender. The referee reached for his top pocket and brandished the red card.
Arsene Wenger at Post-match Press conference:
“We have 35 journalists here, I am sure you have all seen it again and analysed it and know much more about that situation that I do. I can’t comment because I didn’t know if Costa was offside or not or if Per touched him or not. I don’t know. It was of course frustrating but it is a decision and we had to get on with our job, which we did.”
The Mirror quotes him:
“Look, I have not seen it again. In the first game he got Gabriel sent off and today he got Mertesacker sent off. It’s a tackle regular or not. Did he touch him or not?”
Replays suggested minimal contact with Costa, who was nonetheless unable to hide his agony from public view, face contorted as he completed a harrowing triple roll that suggested at the very least a pair of broken limbs, possibly even that rare thing, death by ankle tap.
Chelsea FC website:
Chelsea continued to go at the Gunners and with our next foray forward came a big moment as Diego Costa was played through in behind the defence and was scythed down by Mertesacker.
Mertesacker looked across, desperately hoping for offside, desperately hoping for Laurent Koscielny to be closer, but then tired to steal the ball away from Costa, catching him. Referee Mark Clattenburg showed the red card – the fourth Arsenal have endured in the last five Premier League matches against Chelsea.
Did he dive? No.