The Football Association have today declared that Diego Costa is to be charged with violent conduct after Chelsea’s match against Arsenal.
The Brazilian born Spanish striker was involved in a number of clashes against the Gunners during the defending Premier League champion’s game over the weekend, including a coming together with Laurent Koscielny that the FA have decided is worthy of a review.
Whilst wrestling the Arsenal defender for the ball in the penalty area Costa appeared to drag his hand across his opponent’s face before slamming his elbow into his cheek then chest bumping the Arsenal man to the floor. The incident was missed by the match officials but caught on camera, meaning that the FA can deal with it as a separate incident.
The Football Associations press release regarding the matter said, “Off the ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees. Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision by the panel must be unanimous”.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was incensed by Costa’s behavior during the game and said that the FA needed to do something about it, claiming that it was the least they could do. He said, “I would like them, especially Mike Dean, to look at the whole action that happened during the game and see if he stands for his decision. But you have a fourth official, you have a linesman, the referee and they talk all the game. They know Diego Costa. He is not a newcomer. He was here for a year now. It is surprising. I tell you something, if I am a referee and I referee Diego Costa, I do not send somebody off quickly if he responds because you know he has been well provoked”.
Arsenal’s Gabriel was sent off for swinging a boot out at Costa and will also face an improper conduct charge, though the Gunners intend to appeal against the three match ban he will receive for his straight red card in the game.
The FA’s decision to charge Costa comes on the same day that Chelsea’s young defender Kurt Zouma apologised after branding his own team mate a ‘cheat’. Speaking to Bein Sport after the game he said, “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponents out of his game, and that happened in the game”.
He has apologised for the incident, saying, “Sorry for any confusion. English is not my first language. I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating. [Costa is] a player who puts pressure on his opponents and who I have huge respect for”.
Costa has until 6pm on Tuesday 22nd to respond to the charge.