Football

Laurent Koscielny talks about that Diego Costa slap

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Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has lifted the lid on his infamous clash with Diego Costa during a game against Chelsea last month.

Costa appeared to push Koscielny in the face in an off-the-ball incident unseen by referee Mike Dean and his officials. The controversial striker would then use his chest to knock the 30-year-old to the floor.

It sparked a brawl between a number of players with Gabriel Paulista eventually falling into Costa's hands, kicking out and seeing red while the Chelsea star remained on the pitch.

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The FA would later rescind that red card and hand Costa a three-match ban, but Chelsea had already sealed three points with a 2-0 win. 

Had Gabriel taken a note from Koscielny's book of wisdom, the Gunners may well have left Stamford Bridge with something to show for it. The France international has explained how his experience helped him to stay calm during the clash.

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Staying calm

"At the time, when he gives me a slap on the face, I don't pay attention," Koscielny told L'Equipe.

"We're in a defensive situation and I continue to play. After he pushes me, I fall and get up because I'm not the type of player who drops down like that.

"Sure, I could have had a reaction but I managed to keep my nerves. He wants to blow a defender's fuse but you have to stay calm. I received a lot of messages telling me: 'Well done because I would have hit him'.

"It's five years that I've been at Arsenal, I have over 200 matches with my team, some very important. I played a World Cup and the Euros. All this experience helps my serenity and allows me to not be overwhelmed by the emotions of an encounter."

Justice served

Costa may have emerged from that day as an unpopular winner and was even named as man of the match by a smug Jose Mourinho in the post-match press conference, but little has gone right for the Blues since then.

In fact, they have won just one of their subsequent seven Premier League games, losing five and drawing another. That dismal form has seen them fall to 16th place in the table and 15 points behind joint-leaders Arsenal.

Similarly, Costa has failed to impress, scoring just twice in the league and causing more controversy in clashes with Liverpool's Martin Skrtel and Stoke's Ryan Shawcross. 

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Topics:
Premier League
Laurent Koscielny
Arsenal
Diego Costa
Chelsea
Football

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