Diego Costa

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Atletico’s Diego Costa sent off after scoring in La Liga debut

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Diego Costa has scored in back-to-back matches since returning to Atletico Madrid, but his celebrations sent him to the showers early on Saturday.

The Spanish striker scored in the 68th minute against Getafe today to give Atleti a 2-0 advantage, however, the former Chelsea player’s actions after the goal earned him a second yellow card and an early exit from the match.

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Costa, who rejoined Atletico in January after spending three seasons with Chelsea, left Atleti to fend with 10 men for the final 20 minutes-plus on Saturday, however, the 2-0 scoreline held for the home side and Diego Simeone’s men sit within six points of league leaders Barcelona.

Atleti will return to La Liga action next weekend with a visit to Eibar, however Simeone and Co. will take the pitch on Tuesday in their Copa del Rey second leg against Lleida.

Conte on Morata: “This is not a lucky period for him”

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Antonio Conte was disappointed that Chelsea couldn’t hang onto its late, come-from-behind lead against London rivals Chelsea on Wednesday.

And while Arsenal certainly more than deserved its point based on performance, Chelsea may’ve walked away a decisive winner had Alvaro Morata finished a number of gold-plated chances in the draw.

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That his misses came on the day Diego Costa scored — and was injured — for Atletico Madrid won’t escape the majority of Chelsea supporters, and Conte is pleading for patience (which isn’t a lot to ask for considering he’s adjusting to a new league). From ChelseaFC.com:

‘This is not a lucky period for him because at the last game versus Stoke I said it is very important for the striker to have the chance to score, and here today he had chances to score but it is football. I am very happy for his commitment and his effort for the team, this is the most important for me but for the striker it is important to score because then your confidence is up. In this case his confidence can do down but he is very young and he has to continue to work to improve and he will see that the goal is coming.

‘The only things I can tell him are to stay calm and continue to work in this way for the team because then the chances will arrive for him and for the other players. This is the first season he is playing with regularity. He has to stay calm and to continue to play in this way and the goal is coming.”

Morata has bagged 10 Premier League goals, 12 overall, for Chelsea since arriving from Real Madrid. That’s a bit down from his 20 goals in 43 for Real last season, though goals are traditionally a bit easier to come by in attack-driven La Liga.

Four things we learned from Arsenal v. Chelsea

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What a game. Arsenal and Chelsea played out a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday to showcase the bets the Premier League has to offer.

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Arsenal took the lead via Jack Wilshere, but Chelsea scored twice through Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso before Hector Bellerin equalized late on.

Here’s what we learned from an absorbing encounter in north London between the crosstown rivals.


CECH, COURTOIS EXCEL

We rave about sublime goals and attacking play time and time again (we usually do when Arsenal play at home. See: Arsenal v. Tottenham, Arsenal v. Man United and Arsenal v. Liverpool this season) but Wednesday was the time to applaud two top-class goalkeepers who put on a clinic despite conceding two goals each.

Both Thibaut Courtois and the man he took the No.1 jersey from at Chelsea, Petr Cech, excelled as they each made at least three key saves and Courtois was the slightly busier of the two.

Courtois usurped Cech as Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper in 2014 and you can see why it was such a tough decision for Jose Mourinho at the time. Both goalkeepers are very similar in the way they play the game, their size and their strengths.

Both made good stops with their feet and also by coming out and smothering chances with Cech denying Alvaro Morata late on but standing his ground at the crucial moment.

With Courtois said to be in talks with Chelsea over a new contract amid constant links to Real Madrid, he continues to be the main man battling David De Gea as the top goalkeeper in the PL. Yet the experienced head of Petr Cech also reminded us just how good he still is.


WILSHERE CONTINUES RESURGENCE

Jack Wilshere has now started six-straight PL games for Arsenal for the first time since September-October 2013 and he continued his resurgence with a fine goal and an all-action display in central midfield.

Is their still rust after his numerous injuries over the past few years? Yes. Undoubtedly. But the England midfielder is doing his chances of earning a new contract at Arsenal no harm, just as Arsene Wenger said last month.

Wilshere, 26, is at a real crossroads in his career but if he can stay fit we all know the quality he has on the ball and being able to make the Gunners tick in central midfield. He is rusty and at times the pace of the game seemed to nullify his impact, but he popped up to score a goal and tried his best to drive Arsenal on from midfield despite getting a yellow card in the first half for clattering Cesc Fabregas.

The one disappointing moment from Wilshere was when he went down easily under a challenge from the excellent Andreas Christensen in the second half but wasn’t shown a yellow card for simulation. He should have been sent off before he scored Arsenal’s first goal in a breathtaking draw.


VAR DEBATE CONTINUES

The debate of simulation has cropped up time and time again over the festive period and it did so at the Emirates. Two crucial moments in the game both involved questionable dives from star players and both could have been cleared up with the VAR system.

Wilshere should have been handed a second yellow card for simulation by referee Antony Taylor, it was as simple as that and the referee had a decent view but may have been slightly blocked.

Then, the big turning point of the game came as Hazard won a penalty kick. The Belgian went down under minimal contact from Hector Bellerin but Taylor pointed to the penalty spot and Chelsea equalized just as Arsenal were in the ascendancy and looked like running away with things.

Wenger was furious with a late handball decision against his side at West Brom on New Year’s Eve which cost them a win, while the likes of Wilfried Zaha has been accused of diving and Mourinho complained about a handball which could have led to a penalty kick for his side over the festive period.

When Chelsea and Arsenal meet in the in the League Cup semifinals later this month VAR will be used and both managers will probably be very happy with that.

Given VAR’s problems at the Confederations Cup last summer, you can understand why the PL is waiting before bringing it in full time.

But with so many debatable calls and managers upset with decisions from referees, surely now is the time to give the officials extra help and take some of the tougher decisions out of their hands and to a team upstairs watching on TV?


STONE COLD MORATA

Alvaro Morata has been deadly for most of his first season at Chelsea in the Premier League. He wasn’t on Wednesday.

The Spaniard missed three glorious chances, slotting wide after going clean through early on, then dinking over in the second half when one-on-one with Cech, while he hit a tame effort at the Arsenal goalkeeper in stoppage time with the score locked at 2-2.

Morata can’t be faulted for the way he’s settled in the PL since arriving at Chelsea in the summer (12 goals in all competitions so far) but he certainly fluffed his lines in the big moments on Wednesday.

He should have given Chelsea the three points which would’ve pushed them up to second place in the PL table and on the same night that Diego Costa scored on his second debut for Atletico Madrid, the man who replaced him at Chelsea, Morata, proved his isn’t quite as clinical. Not yet, anyway.

VIDEO: Diego Costa scores, injured in Atletico debut

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Diego Costa‘s second debut for Atletico Madrid was pretty eventful.

The Spanish international, 29, hadn’t played in a competitive game since the FA Cup final at the end of the 2016-17 season but just five minutes after coming on as a sub for Atletico on Wednesday he found the back of the net in their 4-0 win against lower-tier Lleida Esportiu in the Copa del Rey.

Yet Costa injured himself either by diving in to score the goal, or with his celebration, but managed to continue after receiving treatment on his injured right knee.

In his first spell with Atletico he scored 64 goals in 135 appearances in all competitions before being sold to Chelsea in the summer of 2014.

Costa then fell out with manager Antonio Conte on multiple occasions and Chelsea eventually agreed to sell him in September. He has since had to wait on the sidelines to make his debut for Atletico with their transfer ban lifted on January 1, 2018.

You can watch Costa’s goal below.

Top 10 loan signings for January

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The winter transfer window is opened, and that means a fresh chance for players to make an impact across the Premier League and Europe.

The Silly Season is already well underway, with confirmed moves such as Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool and tons of un-confirmed and sometimes un-sourced rumors of Harry Kane and Dele Alli to Real Madrid, just as an example.

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However, the January transfer window presents both clubs and players with a unique opportunity. For some players, it’s a chance for them to find playing time on a new team. For clubs, it’s a chance to upgrade their squad for a second-half title push or battle against relegation.

Here’s a look at 10 potential loan signings that Premier League clubs can make this month:

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