Former Arsenal director slams Chelsea striker Diego Costa as a "serial cheat"

 
Joe Hall
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Costa (l) scored the match-winning goal for Chelsea at the Emirates (Source: Getty)

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been branded "a serial cheat" by former Arsenal director Peter Hill-Wood following the Spaniard's match-winning display at the Emirates this weekend.

Costa was at the centre of attention, scoring the game's only goal shortly after he was fouled by Gunners centre-back Per Mertesacker - a challenge which earned the German a red card.

But critics of referee Mark Clattenburg's decision claimed there was little contact in the tackle.

Read more: Wenger hits back as Blues dent title bid

"He is a serial cheat and he gets away with it," Hill-Wood told the Daily Star. "I think he deliberately ran in front of Mertesacker, who hardly touched him.

"Yet Costa rolls around as if his legs have been cut off. Once the red card's been shown, he's suddenly perfectly all right again.

"That's because there's absolutely nothing wrong with him. There certainly wasn't soon after when he scored that goal."

Hill-Wood, who followed his father and grandfather to become chairman of Arsenal in 1982, even suggested it was Costa - not Mertesacker - who should have been given his marching orders.

He said: "Personally I think the referee should have sent him [Costa] off for diving. It's very annoying because to me it is blatant.

"I thought Arsene [Wenger] was very restrained because he must have been furious."

Following the match Arsenal boss Wenger described Costa as "clever" by running across Mertesacker and drawing the challenge and said the sending off was "very harsh".

Costa has a history of controversy against Arsenal - when the two teams met at Stamford Bridge in October Gabriel Paulista was sent off for retaliating to the striker's rough play.

The latest loss to the Blues leaves Arsenal three points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City and level with Manchester City on 44 points.

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