There are mixed views about Diego Costa’s role in Per Mertesacker’s sending off this past Sunday, but former Arsenal Peter Hill-Wood certainly knows which side of the fence he stands on.
The ex-Arsenal man branded the Brazilian born Spaniard a serial cheat and a diver after he got our giant German sent off, and claimed everything he did was done purposely to influence the referee’s decision.
“He is a serial cheat and he gets away with it,” said Hill-Wood (via the Daily Star).
“I think he deliberately ran in front of Mertesacker, who hardly touched him.
“Yet Costa rolls around as if his legs have been cut off. Once the red card’s been shown, he’s suddenly perfectly all right again.
“That’s because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him. There certainly wasn’t soon after when he scored that goal.
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“Personally I think the referee should have sent him off for diving. It’s very annoying because to me it is blatant.”
It’s hard to disagree with much of what our former chairman has said, and Costa is unquestionably a cheat, a diver, and just generally a bit of a scumbag. There’s not a single player we at All Arsenal hate more than the former Atletico Madrid striker, and that’s saying something.
Mertesacker was obviously totally outmatched once it came down to a foot race, and Diego Costa always had the beating of him. The defender’s tackle was mistimed an poorly judged, and it was clear he got nothing on the ball. He also got nothing of the player though, and it was only after Costa left his trailing leg in and dragged it across Mertesacker’s leg – adding in a few dramatic rolls and screams of anguish for good measure – that there was any contact whatsoever.
So the question here really is, what is your interpretation of the rules? There was clearly a huge amount of simulation on Costa’s part, as the contact was minimal, yet he went down like he’d been shot – twice.
Is that the way the modern game has gone though? It’s got to the point where you don’t get the foul unless you go down, and it pays off to be a little dramatic. Until referees and the governing bodies do more to stamp out simulation and diving, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change.
By the letter of the law, it probably shouldn’t have even been a foul, as Costa himself initiated the contact by intentionally leaving a leg in. You can totally understand why referee Mark Clattenburg made the decision he did though, and as soon as Mertesacker went to ground he gave the referee a decision to make.
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Regardless of your interpretation of the rules, it’s hard to argue that Costa is one of the most despicable human beings around – and definitely in the footballing world. Even if you don’t think he’s done wrong in this instance, he’s still a serial cheat and an absolute twat.