This tie was billed as match up between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. 'Would they shake hands?' was the common question. Yes, was the answer–before kick-off, in fact–but their touchline tussle would not be the headline fight on this sunny Saturday afternoon.
Diego Costa would once again fail to score in the Premier League, keeping his tally for the season at a solitary strike. But his inability to either score or create a goal would not stop him playing a significant role in helping the Blues to a much-needed win over Arsenal.
The combative Brazilian picked a fight with Laurent Koscielny deep into the first half, but despite placing two hands on the Frenchman's face, he was not the prime target.
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Gabriel, who himself is not one to shy away from a confrontation, received a yellow card for getting too involved in the ensuing tussle.
Smelling blood, Costa latched onto his compatriot like a parasite and got what he wanted when the Arsenal centre-back tried, and failed, to sneak a back-heeled kick into Costa's shin. Mike Dean spotted it and gave him a straight red card.
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It gave Chelsea the advantage they needed with Kurt Zouma heading home after latching onto Cesc Fabregas' expertly delivered free-kick in the 53rd minute. Eden Hazard scored in the 90th minute to reassure what many inside Stamford Bridge were already confident of.
A sour taste
Chelsea got their victory but, not for the first time, the actions of a team led by Mourinho would leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Costa embodies the win-at-all-costs attitude on the pitch as well as the Special One does off of it. The Portuguese has never once cared about what others think of him, telling journalists to do their research and accusing rivals of voyeurism when his methods are called into question.
Costa does not care about making friends either. He arrived at Chelsea last summer with the aim of winning football matches. He goaded Gabriel into getting himself sent off and played a significant role in his team's victory as a result.
Once again, journalists will talk about whether or not Costa should have joined Gabriel down the tunnel or whether the striker's practice of the dark arts is damaging the Premier League brand.
One thing is for sure, neither he nor Mourinho will lose much sleep thinking about it.
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