Diego Costa is a 'serial cheat', says ex-Arsenal chairman
Diego Costa is a "serial cheat" who deliberately gets players sent off, according to former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood.
The controversial Chelsea striker played a key role in the 1-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday where Per Mertesacker became the latest Arsenal player to see red against Costa.
Mertesacker was sent-off in the 18th minute for a late challenge on the Spaniard, who was running towards goal. The 27-year-old, who controversially got Gabriel sent off at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, then netted the winning goal five minutes later.
Former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood was incensed by Costa’s role in Mertesacker’s dismissal.
“He is a serial cheat and he gets away with it,” Hill-Wood told the Star. “I think he deliberately ran in front of Mertesacker, who hardly touched him.
“Yet Costa rolls around as if his legs have been cut off. Once the red card’s been shown, he’s suddenly perfectly all right again.
“That’s because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him. There certainly wasn’t soon after when he scored that goal.
“Personally I think the referee should have sent him off for diving. It’s very annoying because to me it is blatant.”
The result meant Arsenal have now gone nine Premier Leagues without beating Chelsea and have failed to score in the last six league meetings between the two clubs, stretching over 572 minutes.
A victory would have sent Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League table, but Wenger’s men now trail leaders Leicester City by three points and have taken just two points from their last three games.
Asked after the game about Mertesacker’s red card, Wenger said: “I think it was quick and harsh, but I have to watch it again. The referee made a decision and we have to get on with it. Costa got two players sent off in two games on our side. So he's clever.”
Wenger attempted to clarify his comment on Costa, who was forced off with a knee injury, by adding: “I said Costa got two of our players sent off in the last two games against Chelsea. Those are only facts. Is the decision right or wrong? I don't know. It is a fact, without accusing him of anything.
“I don’t know if Costa was offside or not, or if Per Mertesacker touched him or not. It was frustrating, of course, but it's a decision we have to take on the chin and get on with our job. We did that. The team were focused and resilient, fighting to the last. Despite the disappointing result, we should have given more belief to our game by that performance.”
On Wenger's comments, Hill-Wood added: “I thought Arsene was very restrained because he must have been furious.
“He gets criticised or penalised by the FA if he says too much.”
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink was adamant that referee Mark Clattenburg was right to give Mertesacker his marching orders so early in the game.
“There was no doubt,” said Hiddink. “You could see it as a beautiful through pass from Willian to Diego. He was hit and it was obvious it was a red card. I'd like to see the image and I'd give a fair judgement but, from what I saw, he was tripped.”