An unsavoury incident involving Diego Costa and Gareth Barry resulted in the former receiving a red card in the closing stages of Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup reverse at Everton.
The Spanish international was dismissed for overly aggressive behaviour towards his Everton counterpart, though it has since been alleged he tried to bite Barry during their coming together.
Both players have since denied this was the case, but the altercation has prompted a raft of conspiracy theories to spill forth from some of the media’s finest transfer speculators.
The Sun’s European football correspondent, Anthony Kastrinakis is of the opinion Costa acted the way he did in order to orchestrate a move away from Stamford Bridge:
“His behaviour over the last few months is purely to show Roman Abramovich that he wants out.
“He wanted out last May. There were stories from various friends of his that he wanted to return to Atletico Madrid. It could have been done in January when Atletico made a bid, but Chelsea would not let him go.
“I think all of this is his frustration, because he wants to play elsewhere.”
After a maiden campaign littered with incidents such as this one, could it be that Costa’s antics demonstrate nothing of the sort?
A far simpler explanation would be that his actions resulted from the resurfacing of his widely-condemned anger issues brought on by the frustration involved with seeing the Blues’ last chance of winning a trophy this season slip away.
Such incidents were prevalent throughout Costa’s first season at the Bridge, in which he scored 21 goals across all competitions and won two trophies. In great form as the focal point of a title-winning side, clearly the Brazilian-born striker didn’t want to leave Chelsea then. Why would he?
The same incidents were common throughout his Atletico career, in the final season of which he won La Liga.
Aggressive as ever, he picked up nine bookings with Los Colchoneros in 2013/14 and, given that he is allegedly pining for a return to the Vicente Calderon, his card-collecting and general foul play had nothing to do with trying to get a move elsewhere.
As Kastrinakis suggests, he wanted to go back to Atletico in January, yet that was around the time of year he rediscovered his best form; since Boxing Day 2015 he has bagged 11 of his 15 seasonal goals.
This run widely contrasts with the poor standards he set pre-Christmas under Jose Mourinho, when he was widely-regarded as being unhappy.
Since Mourinho left, his performances have markedly improved and another surfacing of his deplorably violent side, which, as we’ve seen, tends to be an unfortunate inability to control angst in the wake of defeat, suggests he is as committed to Chelsea as ever.