19th September 2015: The Premier League doesn’t need cheats like Diego Costa

We all know Jose Mourinho’s been called ‘the enemy of football’, but today’s events at Stamford Bridge provided further evidence that Diego Costa is his chief ally in a deplorable and unnecessary war on both the sport and sportmanship alike.

I don’t want to go into too many details because if you’re reading this blog then you’ll no doubt have seen the game and witnessed Costa’s ‘craft’ with your own eyes, but what I will say is that the striker’s antics on a football pitch should no longer be tolerated by football in a country which prides itself on fair play.

When Sky Sports used a caption reading ‘Costa’s crimes’ in a game last season in which the player had cheated (and there really is no other word to describe behavior that consistently infringes the letter of the law yet remains unpunished) throughout the match, his manager was quick to take offence and the broadcaster basically backed down. Costa’s crimes went from being highlighted as unacceptable, to ‘just the way he plays the game’ in the collective conscience of English football.

Typically cunning psychological string-pulling by the Portuguese manager maybe, but we need to wise up now. The time has come to change that Mourinho-influenced mindset and kick scam-artists out of the Premier League. There is enough talent, and variety of it, for the world’s most watched domestic division to do without such atrocious showings of spite and violence on a weekly basis from a footballer who, if we’re all honest, is far from a standout performer with the ball at his feet.

Costa doesn’t add anything special to the game in this country but does an awful lot of damage to it’s reputation and integrity instead. A match delicately poised at 0-0, between two fierce rivals was heading for half time with the promise of a more open second period where true talents like Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez could have decided the game through skill, courage, intelligence etc, but instead, was sabotaged by scandalous skulduggery.

If referees are unwilling to do their jobs and dish out cards for Costa every single time he deserves them (which would see him dismissed most weeks), for fear of a tongue-lashing from the hypocritical Mourinho after the game, then the FA need to make an example retrospectively of the player to lesson the number of future episodes like today’s. Ban him, warn him and tell him he needs to clean up his act.

The Chelsea manager coined the phrase ‘fake result’ when his side were comprehensively beaten by Manchester City earlier this season, but if there’s ever been a more counterfeit score-line than today’s, I’ve yet to see it.

I gave myself a good few hours after the game ended before I wrote this post to ensure it wouldn’t be rooted in rage at the result of the match and the factors influencing it, but all the time in history wouldn’t change my view that analysing the contest has been deemed utterly pointless by pure, unadulterated foul-play. You can’t evaluate a performance that was marred by malpractice.

Diego Costa has to change, or the English game needs to strike him off it’s roster.

Back on Sunday.

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