Friday 15 December 2017

Chelsea left furious by Diego Costa three-game ban

Arsenal defender Gabriel (L) and Chelsea's Diego Costa (2nd R) are separated by Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech (C) after clashing last Saturday
Arsenal defender Gabriel (L) and Chelsea's Diego Costa (2nd R) are separated by Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech (C) after clashing last Saturday

Jeremy Wilson

The English FA delivered a disciplinary verdict yesterday that is likely to infuriate Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho by retrospectively banning Diego Costa for three matches and overturning the suspension of Arsenal defender Gabriel.

Both clubs had appealed against the respective bans looming over their player following an ugly confrontation during Saturday's London derby but independent regulatory commissions first ruled in favour of Gabriel and then against Costa.

It means that Gabriel is free to play for Arsenal in tonight's League Cup match against Tottenham while striker Costa will miss Chelsea's game against Walsall and then Premier League fixtures with Newcastle United and Southampton.

Chelsea are believed to be privately furious at the outcome of the respective hearings while Arsenal believe that some justice has now been served after they ultimately lost the match 2-0 following the dismissal of Gabriel.

The flashpoint on Saturday occurred shortly before half-time. Costa had put his hands into the face of Laurent Koscielny and then swung his left arm towards the Arsenal defender. Gabriel immediately confronted Costa and, after being booked, flicked a leg in the direction of the striker.

Read more: Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro has left the Stamford Bridge club

Read more: Eva Carneiro's Chelsea exit angers FA board member Heather Rabbatts

He was shown a straight red card by Mike Dean but, in arguing their case for wrongful dismissal, Arsenal produced video evidence that showed his foot did not connect with Costa. The regulatory commission duly agreed that Gabriel's actions did not merit a straight red and upheld the appeal. There is, however, still a risk that Gabriel could miss the Premier League match against Leicester City on Saturday following a separate improper conduct charge for the way that he protested his sending-off.

The Brazil defender had to be restrained from confronting Costa again. Arsenal have until 6pm tomorrow to respond to that charge, with a hearing then likely on Friday. Dean did book Costa but, on review, admitted he would have sent the striker off if he or his assistants had seen the Spain international putting his hands towards Koscielny's face.

Meanwhile, Eva Carneiro has decided against a return to Chelsea and is expected to fight for a significant pay-off.

The first-team doctor failed to comply with the club's request that she reported for duty on Friday ahead of the game against Arsenal. However, by then it was already accepted that there would be no way back given her view of her treatment. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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