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Diego Costa Very Lucky To Avoid Red Card, Says Dermot Gallagher

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Dermot Gallagher felt Diego Costa was “very, very lucky” not to be sent off against Arsenal on Saturday.

Speaking on Sky Sports Now, the former Premier League referee gave his views on the controversial incident, which was the main talking point of Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Costa stayed on despite putting his hand in the face of Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny and then catching the French centre-back in the face with a swinging arm minutes before half-time.

The Chelsea striker was then booked after squaring up to Koscienly and having a confrontation with Gabriel, who was subsequently sent off for kicking out at Costa.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants referee Mike Dean to review the incident, and the Football Association will decide on Monday if any further action is to be taken after speaking to the match official.

Asked for his thoughts on the incident, Gallagher was in no doubt that Costa should have been sent off – but defended Dean for not doing so as he felt the official did not see the original incident with Koscielny.

“I thought Costa was very, very lucky to stay on the field because of what happened with Koscielny,” he said. “He put his hands out, he knows what he’s doing and what we have to assume is that the referee hasn’t seen that.

“I think if the referee sees that then he gives a red card but I don’t think he did see it because he didn’t take action, the action was taken for him bumping into Koscielny, which happened later.

“What happens then is that it spirals and Gabriel gets involved, Koscielny stays out of it.

“A referee with the quality and experience of Mike Dean would have sent him off there if he had seen it.”

Gallagher did, however, feel that referee Dean could have done more to calm the situation down in the time between the initial flashpoint and the Gabriel dismissal.

“He dealt with the Koscielny incident but then it escalated,” he said.

“The captains were called in and that’s where the referee could have done a little bit better. He should have told the captains to calm the two players down but the players leave the incident and they leave angry.

“It then carries on to the centre circle where Gabriel backheels him. There’s no debate that one is a red card and Arsene Wenger himself admitted that.”