Did Chelsea’s negligence cause Diego Costa booking?

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Updated: August 17, 2016

This past Monday, Chelsea defeated West Ham in their season opener by a score of 2-1 thanks to Diego Costa’s 89th minute winner. However, the highlight of the post-match discussion was not the Spain international’s goal, but whether he should have been on the pitch to take the shot that won the Blues the match.

In the second half of the match at Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa, on a booking, caught Adrian on the shin with a late sliding challenge. After protracted discussions with the assistant, Anthony Taylor decided to not to issue Costa his marching orders.

However one feels about Taylor’s decision, Diego Costa should have never been in a position to receive a second yellow card. His first booking, given after he ran a full thirty yards to confront the referee, was silly and unnecessary. This season there have been several rule changes in the Premier League, and one that should concern many players is that protesting to the referee about a decision is automatically a bookable offense. Apparently, it’s not a rule Costa was made aware of until he was penalized for breaking it.

Speaking to ESPN Brasil after the match, Costa denied knowing about the rule.

“I’m finding this [rule change] out now, because it was the second time I went to speak to him [the referee] that he gave me a card straight away. I found it a bit strange but later on I understood and after the first half I apologized.”

If what Costa said is true, it represents gross negligence on Chelsea’s part to not brief one of their more aggressive players, and also a card-magnet, about a rule that could land him in troubled waters.

Costa also spoke about how he felt unfairly targeted in England by referees, with the scales so tipped against him it often results in suspensions.

“Here I’m marked by referees, I’m going to be honest. People always have — if I do anything, it’s different to what any other footballer does, and we need to see this because people marked me and I have to deal with it and ask God that these things don’t mess me up or take away opportunities of the game that happens with suspension.”

However you feel about Diego Costa and his on-field antics, he’s an absolutely vital player for Antonio Conte and Chelsea’s 2016-2017 season. For the team and his own benefit, he’d better learn to keep his composure.

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