Arsenal hopeful of reducing Gabriel ban by using precedent set by Chelsea

Gunners to adopt precedent used by Chelsea to fight three-game suspension while Blues are considering Costa appeal

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The Independent Online

Arsenal will use a precedent set by Chelsea in an attempt to get Gabriel’s three-game ban for violent conduct during Saturday’s match at Stamford Bridge reduced to one.

The north London club believe that Chelsea’s two successful appeals, first to bring down Nemanja Matic’s three-game ban after the midfielder was sent off against Burnley in February and then Cesc Fabregas’s following a straight red card at West Bromwich Albion in May, could ensure that the Brazilian defender does not miss a key period of Premier League games. Both Fabregas and Matic served one-game bans as a result.

A one-match ban for alleged violent conduct against Chelsea’s Diego Costa would mean he misses tomorrow’s League Cup tie with Tottenham. But there are also the tough visit to high-flying Leicester and Manchester United at the Emirates to follow.

 

Arsenal have until Thursday to challenge an additional charge of improper conduct over Gabriel’s failure to leave the pitch. They may seek to argue the player’s lack of English is a mitigating factor. Santi Cazorla became involved in helping translate during the on-field mêlée. But there is no doubt that the player did take a long time to leave the field.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are considering whether to appeal against a violent conduct charge which could result in Costa being banned for at least three games, to the fury of manager Jose Mourinho.

The west London club were not commenting on the charge, handed down yesterday after Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was caught by the Brazilian’s swinging arm in an ill-tempered clash at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Costa has until 6pm today to respond to the charge after the incident was missed by match officials.

The charges will certainly incur the wrath of Mourinho, who was seething when Costa was retrospectively sanctioned in February for treading on Liverpool’s Emre Can, part of what the Chelsea manager perceived as a “campaign” against his side.

Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma inadvertently added to the controversy engulfing Costa by stating in a television interview after the game on Saturday that the striker “likes to cheat a lot”.

The Frenchman posted a clarification on Twitter, saying: “Sorry for any confusion, English is not my first language & I did not mean to accuse anyone of cheating. Simply to say Diego is a player who puts pressure on his opponents & who I have huge respect for.”

A Chelsea spokesman said: “It’s a bit harsh to take literally the words of a young player speaking in his second language immediately after a game,” said the spokesman. “Kurt is deeply upset that his words have been used to attack a team-mate.”

The 20-year-old had told beIN Sports: “Everyone knows Diego and this guy likes to cheat a lot and put the opponents out of his game and that happened in the game. He’s a real nice guy in the life and we are very proud to have him.”

The FA disclosed that Costa’s alleged act of violent conduct – in the 43rd minute of the 2-0 win over Arsenal – had not been included in referee Mike Dean’s post-match report because he did not see it. Costa also placed two hands on Koscielny’s face seconds before the arm was swung. The incident will be referred to a panel of three former elite referees.

The FA said in a statement: “Off-the-ball incidents which are not seen at the time by the match officials are referred to a panel of three former elite referees.

“Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently of one another to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision by the panel must be unanimous.”

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