22nd September 2015: Gabriel ban rescinded but damage is already done

Greetings Gooners. There has been a shock development in the case of Mike Dean, Diego Costa and the Scandal of Stamford Bridge after the FA today rescinded Gabriel’s three-match ban for his straight red card on Saturday, displaying the kind of common sense and fair ruling they’ve so often shown themselves incapable of in the past.

The Brazilian defender still has a charge of improper conduct hanging over his head for failing to leave the pitch immediately following his dismissal, but for the time being, today’s statement means Gabriel is available for tomorrow’s Capital One Cup game at Tottenham should Arsene Wenger decide to use him. The full release from the FA reads as follows:

Arsenal’s claim of wrongful dismissal in relation to Gabriel has been upheld following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing. The player’s three-match suspension has, therefore, been withdrawn with immediate effect. Gabriel was dismissed for violent conduct during the game against Chelsea on Saturday [19 September 2015]. The player is currently subject to a separate FA charge of improper conduct in relation to Saturday’s game and has until 6pm on Thursday [24 September 2015] to reply.

According to The Mirror’s John Cross, Arsenal have ‘proved’ Gabriel made no contact with Costa in his red card incident and our ‘legal team compiled a ‘dossier’ of Costa’s dirty tricks which convinced the Football Associaton to uphold the appeal’.

Whilst I’m obviously glad we’ve used video evidence to bring some of Costa’s despicable antics during the game to the FA’s attention, including his kick-out at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, I do wonder if they’d have charged the Chelsea player had we not done so. I mean, his behaviour was clear for the watching world to see and should have been addressed retrospectively, regardless of any encouragement from us, but I’m not convinced it would have been.

Frankly, if the authorities don’t discipline the Chelsea striker (and he’s shown himself a better ‘striker’ when lashing out at opponents than he’s been when putting the ball in the back of the net so far this season) with a punishment in line with his crimes, then they’d be wasting a great opportunity to try to stamp out this type of violent, game-wrecking, cheating from the English game. Let’s hope they use as much common sense in dishing out a lengthy ban for Costa as they have in upholding our appeal over Gabriel’s red card.

All that said however, the overturning of Gabriel’s ban and the prospect of a lengthy suspension for Costa doesn’t come close to making up for the fact that the damage, in terms of Premier League points, has already been done. At the time of Gabriel’s dismissal, we were comfortably drifting towards the interval and quite conceivably have gone on to win the game.

Instead, as today has shown, we were unfairly reduced to ten men and went on to lose the match. Why Mike Dean’s role in all this hasn’t been looked at is beyond me because a more incompetent refereeing performance you’d struggle to find anywhere in professional football.

Chelsea and Jose Mourinho’s response should be fun to hear as the Portuguese will no doubt find a new word for ‘campaign’ to suggest evil forces are conspiring against his side. Speaking of the Enemy of Football, it was interesting to see a video of his post-match press conference put up by various websites including the BBC, because it brought to wider attention his belligerent, warped and venomous mood after the game. I think it was Sky Sports’ Andy Burton who was ridiculed by Mourinho for suggesting Costa had crossed the line during Saturday’s game.

The manager said something like ‘you must have played badminton when you were a kid’, implying that football was a man’s game and his player had done nothing wrong. How the press, as a collective, let Mourinho get away with such insulting, snide comments – his default mechanism for deflecting difficult questions and criticism – is bewildering. Perhaps they ought to approach interactions with him in a more no-nonsense, hard-hitting style like their Spanish and Italian counterparts have done in the past, because letting him treat them with such disdain should just not be accepted.

For all his successes and undoubted ability to win football matches, his attitude, in public at least, is quite simply sickening. For a long time he was said to be a master in mind games but I wouldn’t give him the credit for being calculated. Arsene Wenger has his faults as a manager but he could teach Mourinho an awful about being a human being and treating others with respect. For that, as well as the fact he’s a top manager himself, I’m proud he represents our football club.

As I’ve been writing this post, the FA have confirmed they have issued Costa with a three-game ban for violent conduct on Saturday. It’s not nearly long enough in my opinion, but I suppose some consolation at least, for last weekend’s refereeing shitshow, if not the dropped points.

Back tomorrow.

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