Martin Keown says he’d “loved” to have played against Diego Costa – but says he “wouldn’t have fallen for his antics” the way Gabriel did.
The Chelsea striker has come in for plenty of criticism after his actions at Stamford Bridge led to the dismissal of Arsenal defender Gabriel during the Blues’ 2-0 win. Our article called ‘agent provocateur’ Costa a ‘master of the dark arts’, while Twitter’s reaction to the player was also extremely vocal.
Gabriel was red carded just before the break at Stamford Bridge after kicking out at Costa after the Chelsea man had appeared to have slapped Laurent Koscielny and barged into the Arsenal man before Gabriel intervened.
Keown, 49, was renowned for his tough approach on the pitch and admitted he would have liked to have gone toe-to-toe with the Chelsea striker.
“Once in a while I wish I could beam a current player back to my era so I could play against them,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail.
“Diego Costa is top of that list. I was a little bit crazy and I’m pretty sure he is too, so I’d love to go toe-to-toe with him and show him that I wouldn’t be bullied by him.
“Costa has a black belt in the dark arts. He plays his opponents as much as he plays the match, constantly trying to draw a reaction from and bully defenders.”
Keown, who was part of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’ detailed how he would stop the Spain striker.
“I’d try to overpower him and then give him a taste of his own medicine by reacting like he does,” he added. “I’d look for the help of the referee: if you fall over, so will I. He’d have to know that he couldn’t trust me either.
“I’d tread the line carefully – whatever happens, I’m staying on the pitch. That’s how you beat him. Enjoy it, relish it.”