Diego Costa was like a cat with nine lives during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal yesterday.
The Spain international striker was already on a yellow card when he committed this blatant barge on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and got involved in some afters with the Gunners winger.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho sensibly substituted Costa moments later, surely aware that the combative 26-year-old was pushing his luck after a series of misdemeanours at Stamford Bridge.
Costa got away with striking Arsenal defender Laurent Koscileny in the face twice, and was only cautioned for forcefully bumping the French defender to the floor off the ball in the first half.
It was in the aftermath of this incident when the drama escalated as Gabriel Paulista came to the protection of his teammate and got involved in a tussle with Costa which would define the game.
The Arsenal defender joined the Chelsea forward in the book, and was then foolishly provoked into a petulant flick of his studs in Costa’s direction, which earned him a red card from referee Mike Dean.
Gabriel red card video: Arsenal defender sent off but Diego Costa escapes despite brutal assault
Arsene Wenger appeared furious that Gabriel had been given his marching orders while Costa remained on the pitch, and yet he was given another reprieve after his assault on Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Even after Santi Cazorla had been sent off for two bookings, dismissing Costa could have given Arsenal a second wind and late hope of cancelling out Kurt Zouma’s opening goal to snatch a draw.
But Costa was given another life and Mourinho acted quickly before Eden Hazard secured Chelsea a first win in three Premier League games, and the London derby spoils, with a deflected second.
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