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Costa, 27, has previously been handed retrospective bans on two occasions in 2015 after video evidence was used by the English FA to charge the Spanish international striker. There were fears from within Chelsea’s camp that Costa could once again face at least three matches on the sidelines but is it believed that referee Mark Clattenburg saw no malice in the incident between Costa and Skrtel who have been frequent sparring partners in recent seasons.
The incident in question occurred in the second half of Chelsea’s latest defeat — their sixth in 11 Premier League games this season and third at home — as Costa and Skrtel came together on the halfway line and both players ended up in a heap on the ground. As both tried to get up, Costa appeared to kick out at Skrtel’s stomach and although the Slovakian center defender didn’t make a meal of it, he certainly could have. Referee Clattenburg was only stood a few yards away from the incident and decided against taking action during the game and numerous reports claim there will be no independent panel reviewing the incident.
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In the first half Skrtel appeared to catch Costa with an elbow to the face and the duo have a long history of clashes both with their club sides and on the international stage. Costa was handed previous retrospective bans for striking Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny in the face in Chelsea’s 2-0 win in September, plus also for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can during a League Cup semifinal clash in January this year.
You have to say that Costa escaping any kind of sanctions for this action is a little surprising, especially as he appeared to deliberately kick out at Skrtel. His reputation precedes him but you can’t excuse actions like this. This is not a case of Chelsea being vilified but a case of Costa not playing with the rules of the game. The Brazilian born forward must grow up and stop putting himself, and more importantly his team, in tough situations due to his inability to control his aggression. Yes, Costa plays on the edge and that is why up until now he has enjoyed plenty of success in his career, but every player needs to improve and develop as their careers play out.
Costa’s inability to do that and curb his aggressive nature could cost his team dear amid desperately poor results and in a time where they can ill afford any more indiscretions from their star forward.