Footage of Diego Costa training at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night will have given Laurent Koscielny palpitations.
When Atletico Madrid were pulled out of the pot to face Arsenal in the Europa League semi-final, Koscielny and company will have been relieved to see he was ruled out of tonight’s first leg with injury.
A hamstring strain meant Costa was due to watch the game from the stands, but while he is unfit he has been named in Diego Simeone’s squad.
Koscielny’s palms will have turned clammy at that news.
Costa, who returned to Atletico last year after four seasons with Chelsea, was a menace in the Premier League — but no club was on the end of his histrionics like Arsenal.The Spaniard scored three times in six meetings with the Gunners, but certainly left his mark on Arsene Wenger’s team, physically and mentally.
And here, SunSport takes a look back at the most controversial moments of Costa’s history against Arsenal.
On a hot and sunny afternoon at Stamford Bridge, fans saw the nadir of this rivalry as tempers flared.Costa did not score on this occasion, but his actions certainly contributed to a much-needed 2-0 win for the struggling Premier League champions.
Gabriel Paulista, long gone from the Emirates now, saw red both literally and metaphorically when he kicked out at Costa moments before half-time and was dismissed by referee Mike Dean.
Costa had been poking him and prodding him until Gabriel reacted. Costa had set his trap and Gabriel walked straight into it.
Wenger’s defence was the school kid handing over his lunch money to Costa in the playground.
The Spaniard should have already seen red himself, though, having caught Koscielny with a flailing arm and then chest-butted the French defender.
Costa was given a retrospective three-game ban but the damage was done. Wenger said the suspension “only repaired five per cent of the damage.”
Just five months later and Arsenal hadn’t learned their lesson.In this 1-0 away win for Chelsea at the Emirates, Costa bullied Koscielny for the majority of the evening but his defensive partner Per Mertesacker only suffered for 18 minutes.
For the German centre-back found himself walking down the tunnel early on in the game when Mark Clattenburg showed him red for hauling down Costa as he raced clear on goal.
Five minutes later and Costa muscled his way past Koscielny to turn in a Branislav Ivanovic cross that turned out to be the winner and stretched Chelsea unbeaten run against their London rivals to nine.
Costa had beaten Arsenal with his dark arts and now he’d beaten them with his abilities.
Arsenal had the last laugh at Wembley as they lifted the FA Cup with a 2-1 win against Chelsea in Costa’s last game, but it was an apt finish to his time in England.Down to 10 men and 1-0 down, Costa’s experience against Arsenal saw him enter into another fierce battle with Mertesacker.
This time he wouldn’t fall for the Spaniard’s tricks, but he still struggled to handle him.
Costa scored Chelsea’s only goal of the game, an equaliser midway through the second half when Mertesacker lost his nemesis in the penalty area.
The big German was left with his hands on his hips, looking to the heavens.
They had seen enough of Costa and will have been relieved to see the back of him when he left for the Spanish capital a few months later.
Now, Costa is back, and in Simeone’s squad where he’ll be drooling at the prospect of going up against the Gunners again.