Gabriel free for Tottenham clash after successful appeal

Arsenal have won an appeal against Gabriel’s sending-off at Chelsea.

The centre-back was dismissed for kicking out at Chelsea forward Diego Costa during Saturday’s ill-tempered clash at Stamford Bridge.

However, the Football Association announced in a statement yesterday that it has accepted Arsenal’s challenge to the decision and withdrawn the three-match suspension.

Gabriel still faces a separate charge of improper conduct for his reaction after being shown the red card by referee Mike Dean.

The swift decision means Gabriel is available for selection for tonight’s Capital One Cup tie at Tottenham.

Gabriel lost his cool following a confrontation with Costa, who had earlier pushed Laurent Koscielny in the face and then barged him to the ground.

There was a precedent for the suspension being overturned.

Last season, Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic saw his ban reduced after reacting to a dangerous tackle by Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, with the governing body accepting he had used a moderate “level of force” when pushing his opponent. Gabriel, however, could still be sanctioned for failing to immediately leave the pitch following his red card, as the player tried to then confront Costa before being restrained by his team-mates.

Gabriel may have won his appeal but former Tottenham captain Ledley King insists he would have not been wound up by Costa in the same “naive” way as the Brazilian.

King says he would have treated the challenge of Costa differently to give his side the chance of getting a result.

“It depends what kind of person you are, what kind of player you are,” he said. “Costa is clever and he probably picked on the right player and he got what he was looking for — Gabriel was naive in that sense. As a player you have to figure out a way to get back at him at the best way possible.

“To me that is staying on the pitch and making sure you make it as hard as possible for him to score — that is the way I would have done it. He is a player who knows what he is doing but I would have loved to have played against him — he is different and it is not something we are used to.

“There weren’t too many times when players wound me up but when it did happen it just gave me that incentive to really shut them down and make sure they didn’t get a sniff.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has called on his players to put their recent frustrations behind them at White Hart Lane tonight.

The Gunners go into the north London derby on the back of successive defeats, the 2-0 Chelsea loss following the away loss in their Champions League opener to Dinamo Zagreb.

However, Wenger hopes having another big showdown can help his players get back on track.

“I believe we were unfortunate in Zagreb to have a man sent off, and at Chelsea as well, but you want your players to behave in a perfect way and not to show any response at all,” Wenger said.

“We have shown our frustration a little bit in both situations and you cannot afford that.”

Wenger continued: “We want to get back into winning habits and that is why the momentum is even more important for us. Every single game that you play with Arsenal you want to win, especially this one which is a bit more special because it is always a big meaning.”


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