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Darren Lewis: Counting the Costa or forming the infamous siege mentality?

24 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Darren Lewis: Counting the Costa or forming the infamous siege mentality?

The Mirror sports writer says that while Diego Costa's ban has angered everyone at Chelsea, it could well inspire them

Yes, he got what was coming to him.

Yes, he will now be a marked man after making a mug of Mike Dean and Gabriel last weekend.

The Diego Costa affair, however, could yet work in Chelsea’s favour.

When all is said and done it is the Champions with the points that could kick-start their season.

Arsenal will plant their flag on the moral high ground with some justification but the sense of injustice felt by the Blues could yet propel them back to last season’s title-winning consistency.

Sir Alex Ferguson used to love situations like this.

They handed the legendary Scot the opportunity to (re)create the siege mentality, the us-against-them attitude that drove his Manchester United sides towards Premier League domination.

Jose Mourinho has long since learned from the master, adopting similar tactics to pile the pressure on referees with his claims of a conspiracy against his Chelsea team.

Prior to last week’s controversy the Blues had made their worst start to a Premier League season ever.

Their 3-1 capitulation at Everton had even sparked wild suggestions that, in the wake of the Eva Carneiro affair and having shown John Terry that even the previously-untouchable captain, leader and legend is not safe, Mourinho had perhaps upset the dressing room.

The theory at the time was that there were too many players off their game at the same time for the problem to be something that the Special One could control.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv were the ideal Champions League opponents at that point, providing the Blues with the opportunity to play their way into something resembling their old form.

By the time they came up against the Gunners last Saturday that old fire was back, sparked by Costa.

The fall-out, however, has been ferocious. Chelsea will feel that the three-man independent panel convened to rule on Costa’s FA charge were determined to give in to public opinion.

It is their judgement on Tuesday evening, both on Costa and Gabriel, that will leave the Blues camp with the inspiration to pick up where they left off last Saturday.

When his team step out at Newcastle on Saturday Mourinho will almost certainly have them fuelled by a burning sense of injustice and feeling that someone, somewhere in authority has it in for Chelsea.

Because although Costa’s behaviour will have appalled many, his slap in the face of Laurent Koscielny, as they tussled at a corner, was a yellow card offence.

Had Mike Dean – the referee undermined by the panel’s decision – seen it he would have cautioned Costa and there would have been no need for the yellow cards that followed for both the Chelsea striker and Gabriel with whom we now know there is previous.

Instead, the Arsenal defender has been cleared of trying to kick Costa – because TV evidence had shown he failed to make contact – and Chelsea will feel Costa has been banned because the panel were playing to the gallery.

The Londoners have won on just one of their last five visits to St James’s Park, losing their last three.

Newcastle are currently in a mess, however, and if Mourinho wants to wind his players up with a sense that the world is against them he has all the material he needs.

(Particularly with all of the fresh vitriol heading the club’s way following the news that Carneiro has indeed left the club.)

It doesn’t matter that Costa would have been rested for the Capital One Cup tie against Walsall anyway.

Nor the fact that the ban will not stop Costa leading the line against Porto in the Champions League next week.

Chelsea are already fuming at what they perceive as a sustained TV campaign to nail their star striker.

Club insiders believe even the most objective panel member could not have failed to have seen at least some of the “12-hour footage on a loop telling everyone that Diego Costa is the dirtiest player in the country”.

Costa’s ban has not gone down well at Stamford Bridge at all. But Mourinho could yet use it to the club’s advantage.

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