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Chelsea anger as Diego Costa handed three-match ban for violent conduct

DIEGO COSTA

Diego Costa will miss Chelsea’s matches against Walsall, Newcastle and Southampton. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

José Mourinho’s persecution complex was pricked on Tuesday evening when Diego Costa was given a three-match ban by the Football Association, shortly after Gabriel Paulista, the Arsenal central defender with whom the striker clashed at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, had seen his three-game suspension overturned.

Costa, the Chelsea striker, was tried retrospectively by a three-man panel after TV footage had shown him putting his hands into the face of Laurent Koscielny, the other Arsenal centre-half, and then catching him for a second time with a flailing arm. The flashpoint went unseen by the referee, Mike Dean.

Moments later Gabriel backed towards Costa and flicked him in the shins with a boot – an offence that Dean felt was worthy of a straight red card for violent conduct. Gabriel had already been booked for his part in a fracas with Costa.

Costa, who himself was booked for chest-bumping Koscielny to the ground after the initial confrontation, is the player who has been deemed by the FA to have acted violently – much to the dismay of Mourinho and everybody else at Chelsea.

“We are extremely disappointed with the FA regulatory commission’s decision to suspend Diego Costa,” read the club’s statement. “We will await their written reasons before commenting further.”

It is the second time that Costa has been banned for three matches on TV evidence during his short career in England and when it happened the last time – following his stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can last January – Mourinho was incensed. He is similarly upset this time.

There is the feeling at Chelsea that Costa plays on the edge but is almost always in control and knows how not to cross the line with anything too flagrant. The staff at Chelsea do not feel that Costa acted violently towards Koscielny, even if it was clear that he was provocative, at the very least.

The FA fast-tracked Costa’s case so that it would be resolved before Chelsea’s Capital One Cup trip to Walsall on Wednesday night. Costa will miss the tie plus his club’s Premier League fixtures at Newcastle United and against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

Costa becomes the 60th top-flight player since 2004-05 to be charged by the FA with offences that went unseen by the officials, with Newcastle United having been punished seven times, Arsenal and Manchester City six, and Manchester United and Chelsea five.Arsenal had appealed against Gabriel’s red card on two counts – on the legitimacy of the dismissal itself and against the severity of the three-game punishment – and they submitted video evidence in support of their case to the FA’s panel.

The panel, essentially, took their side and they deemed Dean to have made an error of judgement. It is unusual to see a decision over-turned when the referee has had a clear view of the incident but it has happened in this instance. –the guardian-

 

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