Arsene Wenger has blamed Diego Costa for Per Mertesacker’s red card, not so subtly suggesting the Brazilian born Spaniard wasn’t entirely the victim, as reported by the Daily Star.
Referee Mark Clattenburg was quick to produce the red card after Mertesacker slid in on Costa, with the German deemed not only to be the last man, but to be preventing a goal scoring opportunity too.
Wenger suggests that not only did the referee act a little hastily, but it seems as though he’s also hinting that Costa bought the foul.
“He has got two players sent off this season,” he said.
“I am accusing him of nothing but those are the facts.
“The referee was very quick to take the red card out.
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“We coped with the decision well and should have had a draw at least. We had the chances to get a draw.
Mentally we were focused. Sometimes when you lose you can still say ‘well done’ to the players.”
While by the letter of the law it’s hard to argue that it was a red card, there is certainly reason to be annoyed with Costa. Mertesacker was the last man, Laurent Koscielny was unlikely to get across to cover, and it was certainly a goal scoring opportunity.
However, the contact was minimal, if there was any at all. Mertesacker slid in and missed the ball, so he was always in trouble, but Costa was clearly looking for some contact. He appeared to leave his trailing leg in there, and with the slightest brush of the Arsenal vice-captain’s leg Costa went sprawling to the floor, rolling around three or four times and screaming in agony.
It’s easy to understand why Clattenburg made the decision he did and it was foolish of Mertesacker to even give him the chance to make the decision, but Costa certainly made the most of it and helped the referee make his choice.
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Wenger may be speaking a little out of anger following the hugely disappointing loss, but does he have a point? How much of the sending off was Mertesacker’s rash decision making (what on earth was he doing checking for the offside flag half way through making a sliding challenge?) and how much of it was due to Costa’s play-acting?