In a game largely without incident, one of the few talking points was Diego Costa's first half clash with Sunderland centre half John O'Shea. O'Shea clattered the big striker near the halfway line for no apparent reason, and it certainly looked as though Costa reacted by kicking out at the defender. If contact was made, it was minimal, but a kick is a kick, and few would have been surprised to see Kevin Friend reach for his cards (for O'Shea as well, since the foul was rather horrible).
Instead, both were given a talking to and the match went on, with Costa eventually booked and suspended after a fairly innocuous-looking aerial challenge with Wes Brown. He'll miss the midweek match against Tottenham Hotspur, but if he had indeed seen red for the O'Shea incident, the suspension would have been longer. Jose Mourinho was asked about the whole to-do after the match. Guess how he reacted!
Was he lucky to stay on? Nah. I don’t know why people speak all the time about Diego. I don’t agree he is feisty. I don’t think we will miss him on Wednesday. We will play [Loic] Remy or [Didier] Drogba, we don’t cry about injured players or suspended players. He can rest and be fresh against Newcastle next weekend.
Mourinho does have a point: everyone seems to insist on painting Diego Costa with a certain brush despite him being nowhere near as feisty as his reputation. But to say that he's not feisty at all strikes me as a bit of exaggeration. But that's fine. The manager is protecting his players and that's exactly what he needs to do in the face of some pretty serious media pressure. Good for him, and hopefully Costa bounces back quickly from the one-match ban.
In the meantime, I guess Loïc Rémy has some work to do on Wednesday.