Chelsea’s Costa cre­ates chaos

Striker’s ‘tac­tics’ al­most cause riot in 2-0 win over Ar­se­nal

SundayXtra - - SOCCER - By Rob Harris

LON­DON — The Lon­don derby wit­nessed two red cards and two scor­ers. And yet Chelsea’s 2-0 vic­tory over Ar­se­nal seemed to be all about a fifth player: Diego Costa.

Just how the Chelsea striker stayed on the field af­ter swip­ing at Lau­rent Ko­scielny’s face and then body-slam­ming the de­fender to the field en­raged Ar­se­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger.

“He will do the same next week and the week af­ter and he al­ways gets away with it,” Wenger said. “It’s al­ways provo­ca­tion and he uses well the naivety of Mike Dean.

“He can do what he wants and stays on. I think it is un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour.”

The ver­dict from Chelsea man­ager Jose Mour­inho on Costa was more suc­cinct: “Al­ways in con­trol.”

“(Costa) played like he has to play,” Chelsea man­ager Jose Mour­inho told re­porters, sug­gest­ing his striker’s style en­hances the league’s ap­peal.

“That’s why you have full sta­di­ums and you sell to tele­vi­sions around the world for mil­lions and mil­lions, be­cause the game has to be played like that... Fan­tas­tic, Diego.”

While Costa’s cyn­i­cal tac­tics only re­sulted in a yel­low card, the only play­ers sent off were in the red of Ar­se­nal.

As the ran­cour spread at Stam­ford Bridge, Costa goaded Ar­se­nal de­fender Gabriel Paulista, who re­tal­i­ated by flick­ing a kick at the striker just be­fore half time.

That was be­fore a goal had been scored. Chelsea’s opener came eight min­utes af­ter the break through Kurt Zouma’s header.

Any hope of an Ar­se­nal come­back ap­pear to be evap­o­rate in the 79th minute when Santi Ca­zorla was dis­missed for a late slid­ing tackle on Cesc Fabre­gas.

Eden Haz­ard com­pleted only the sec­ond vic­tory of Chelsea’s six-game old ti­tle de­fence in stop­page time with a de­flected shot.

Mour­inho main­tained his un­beaten record against Wenger in a 14th com­pet­i­tive game and Chelsea fi­nally started climb­ing up the fledg­ling Premier League.

Chelsea was still eight points from the sum­mit be­fore leader Manch­ester City hosted West Ham in the last game. And Le­ices­ter has the sec­ond-high­est points tally af­ter a rapid trans­for­ma­tion from last sea­son’s rel­e­ga­tion­bat­tling out­fit.

It took a sec­ond-half fight­back at Stoke for Le­ices­ter to stay un­beaten, with Riyad Mahrez’s penalty and Jamie Vardy’s strike re­cov­er­ing a 2-2 draw.

“It’s un­be­liev­able for the fourth time in a row we come back (af­ter con­ced­ing),” man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri said.

It left Stoke win­less like New­cas­tle and Sun­der­land, with the north-east strug­glers both los­ing to new­com­ers to stay on two points.

Cal­lum Wil­son and Matt Ritchie scored in the open­ing nine min­utes to give Bournemouth a 2- 0 win over Sun­der­land. Wat­ford won 2-1 at New­cas­tle with Odion Ighalo tak­ing ad­van­tage of poor de­fend­ing to score twice in the open­ing 28 min­utes.

“No one said this job was go­ing to be easy and we didn’t think it would be,” New­cas­tle man­ager Steve McClaren said. “It’s a tough job ... it’s very dif­fi­cult to turn things round in two and a half months.”

At Villa Park, Saido Ber­ahino scored his first goal for West Bromwich Al­bion since threat­en­ing to go on strike af­ter a failed move to Tot­ten­ham as his team beat city ri­val As­ton Villa 1- 0.

There was only one goal­less game Satur­day, with Ever­ton striker Romelu Lukaku wast­ing a num­ber of chances at Swansea.

ALASTAIR GRANT / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ar­se­nal’s Gabriel (cen­tre) re­acts af­ter ref­eree Mike Dean sends him off for a sec­ond clash with Chelsea’s Diego Costa Satur­day.

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