Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal gunning for battling Costa

by mark mann-bryans

Arsene Wenger has called on his defence to be "completely cold-blooded" and to keep their discipline when challenged by Chelsea and Diego Costa today.

Arsenal welcome their London rivals to the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners looking to beat them in the Premier League for the first time since October 2011.

Andre Villas-Boas was the Blues boss at the time and since then Wenger has come up against Roberto Di Matteo, Rafael Benitez, Jose Mourinho and Guus Hiddink. Last season, Arsenal ended the 2-0 defeat to Mourinho's side at Stamford Bridge with nine men after both Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were sent off.

Hiddink was in charge by the time the pair met again at Arsenal - where Per Mertesacker saw red in a 1-0 loss.

Costa was involved in a spat which saw Gabriel dismissed and was then hauled down by Mertesacker in the second meeting - scoring the only goal of the game shortly afterwards.

And Wenger knows his defence, with Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi likely to start, need to stick to their game and not be tempted into a battle with Costa.

Asked how his defence can face up against the Spain international, he replied: "By being completely cold-blooded and just focus on the game and not respond. Just try to negate his qualities and his game.

"You need to be committed but by respecting the rules of the game and responding.

"Last year we were a bit unlucky at Chelsea to be down to 10 men because we got a red card and it was rescinded after."

Belfast Telegraph


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