The fallout from Chelsea’s acrimonious win over Arsenal on Saturday continued yesterday with both Diego Costa and Gabriel charged by the FA, who also charged both clubs with failing to control their players.
Chelsea striker Costa has been charged with violent conduct for an incident with Laurent Koscielny not spotted by match referee Mike Dean, while Arsenal’s Brazilian defender has been charged with improper conduct for his remonstrations following his red card during the match. Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has also been warned about his behaviour following his sending-off.
Arsenal have countered by appealing Gabriel’s sending-off and automatic three-match ban.
The FA said in a statement: “Diego Costa has been charged for an alleged act of violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
“The Chelsea forward was involved in an incident with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny in the 43rd minute of the game. He has until 6pm (today) to reply.
“Off-the-ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees.
“Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision by the panel must be unanimous.
“Arsenal defender Gabriel has been charged with improper conduct for his behaviour following his dismissal, whilst team-mate Santi Cazorla has been warned for his behaviour following his sending off.
“Finally, both clubs have been charged for failing to control their players under FA Rule E20. Both clubs and Gabriel have until 6pm on Thursday (September 24) to reply.”
Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma had earlier added a comic touch to the controversy by admitting team-mate Costa liked to cheat. “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponents out of his game,” the 20-year-old said in an interview after the game with beIN SPORTS.
He later apologised and retracted the remarks, claiming: “English is not my first language and I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating. Simply to say Diego is a player who puts pressure on his opponents and who I have huge respect for.”
A Chelsea spokesman said that it was unfair to take Zouma’s words literally.
“It’s a bit harsh to take literally the words of a young player speaking in his second language immediately after a game,” said the Chelsea spokesman.
“Kurt is deeply upset that his words have been used to attack a team-mate and a friend.”
Zouma scored the first goal against Arsenal and was a tower of strength in defence — and said he is still learning from skipper John Terry, who was on the bench at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
He added: “John Terry is an example for me and a really good tutor for me and he will be there for next game — he’s our leader. Now we have to just recover our defensive organisation like we had last year — we just have to keep going and keep clean sheets.”
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