Already cleared of a stamp on Martin Skrtel, it looks like Diego Costa might be let off the hook completely as he looks to appeal his ban for a second stamp on Emre Can, which would see him miss Saturday’s clash against Champions Man City.
Some will say Costa could consider himself lucky that he wasn’t punished for both incidents and even luckier not to have been sent off on the night, but now it seems that he may well be available for selection when Mourinho’s men go up against Pellegrini’s City at Stamford Bridge this Saturday.
Costa – who has been criticised for being ‘too physical’ during his time in the Premier League – has been given the backing of Chelsea in his attempts to have his three match ban overturned, and former Manchester United star and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville thinks Costa is in with a chance.
My personal view is that Costa in a process should get off his charge. Impossible to prove he meant it and he doesn't look at the player.
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) January 29, 2015
I have to admit, I think I agree with Neville on this one. While Costa has made it clear that he is the type who you would expect to leave a mark on an opposition player, there’s no way anybody can prove the stamp was intentional – he wasn’t even looking at the Emre Can when he did it. The only person who knows whether Costa meant to harm the Liverpool player is the Spaniard himself, and the chances of him admitting it are, well, let’s just say I don’t think it’ll happen!
After the game, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers spoke to BBC Sport and claimed that Costa could easily have avoided his players on both occasions:
”He could easily hurdle over the young player and he directs his studs right on to his ankle, which could’ve been nasty,”
“Again, the one with Martin Skrtel, there’s no need to do it. That’s the sad thing. He’s a top-class player and he’s clever enough that the officials don’t see it.”
Mourinho’s views, however, were a little different. The former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager claimed that both incidents were ‘absolutely accidental’:
“What you call stamps and Sky calls crimes, I have to say absolutely accidental. He goes to the ball, he chases the ball, as the opponent is on the floor, they have a contact, he puts his foot there when he’s looking to the ball.”
Mourinho will be hoping that Costa gets away scot-free as Cesc Fabregas, Branislav Ivanovic and Felipe Luis have all appeared as doubts for the potential title decider on Saturday night. Chelsea will find out the outcome of their appeal tomorrow.