This is a weekly blog that takes in the most important parts of the weekend’s football. Usually there’s something absolutely ridiculous which overshadows the rest of the events. Manchester United collapsing spectacularly. Arsenal becoming ever more concentrated Arsenal. Chelsea alternating between malignant and benign. Liverpool made us all laugh one year, and shocked us with their tedious defense of racism in another. Manchester City has become the best side in the country over the past few years, and look set to do the same until its owners lose interest, should they ever lose interest. This is the fourth year of this diary’s existence, and there’s almost always been something hilarious, outrageous, staggeringly hypocritical or, if football is behaving itself, just absolutely brilliant to digest.
Last weekend has happened before, and it will almost certainly happen all over again. Jose Mourinho is yet to lose a competitive game to Arsene Wenger, and probably never will. Wenger will never manage to assemble a team again that has the mental strength to be champions, and he and his collection of disciples in the crowd will always, always fail to see the truth. Chelsea acted like dicks again, but thankfully, given their dickishness similarities with Liverpool in the past (Hello John, hello fans who chant racist abuse on many occasions), it was merely in the most amusingly petty way — perhaps the most petty since Fernando Torres administered a Chinese burn on Jan Vertonghen a few years ago.
Diego Costa pissed off Arsenal defender Gabriel, and as the two came together for some afters, the referee eventually gave both of them a warning and a yellow card. It was your standard, predictable Costa. Choose a target, rough him up within an inch of acceptability, and then prod, cajole and provoke him relentlessly thereafter. Raise those hackles in the man, and then really wind up the man and his hackles. Annoy the hackles on the hackles. Annoy the hackles’ hackles’ hackles until hackles doesn’t mean anything anymore.
It has happened before and it will almost certainly happen all over again. Costa has form for it in Spain, getting chinned for his trouble by Momo Sissoko. He also has form for worse, reportedly, and has been cleaned out by a righteous Geoffrey Kondogbia for it, too. That is one of the correct ways to respond to Costa — with immediate, worthwhile violence. The other sensible option is to rise above it serenely and let him waste his energy while focusing on the man not putting the ball in the net. Of course, for much of last season he was able to do both at the same time (see the win away to Everton, when Chelsea was exciting rather than exacting).
What Costa did to Gabriel was amusing given its obviousness and obvious ineffectiveness. But there was no way after both he and the defender had been booked … it didn’t matter how much Costa was going to say or poke, Gabriel was sensible enough to — Oh, hello! Look what happened!
Gabriel pathetically flicked a boot out into Costa. It didn’t hurt the Chelsea man, and it wasn’t risking any kind of injury — serious or otherwise — to the striker. But even more pathetically, he got a straight red card for the act, by doing it right in front of the demonstrably demonstrative wanker, Mike Dean, a man never known to turn down the chance to officiously pause, point, and enjoy the attention. Here was his chance to give justice by an annoying, probably correct interpretation of the law, rather than encourage the two to disappear down the tunnel for five minutes to exchange drunk-man swings at each others’ noggins.
From that point, it was over. The useless Theo Walcott moved his mass up front, Kurt Zouma stuck a zesty nail in John Terry’s captain, and then Santi Cazorla pulled off an enjoyably pointless second yellow. It finished 2-0, but to many sensible observers, the comparison with heavier past Arsenal tonkings against Chelsea made perfect sense. Wenger and his players had been humiliated in the traditional manner. Chelsea were bastards, but bastards with three points.
But as we said earlier, this diary is about the biggest moment in football of the weekend. Sometimes, something is so massive and serious that it bleeds into football. There are terrorist attacks, tragedies, triumphs of spirit, and political interferences. And so it has happened again. Because on Sunday night, let the record show that, apparently, the British Prime Minister David Cameron put his willy in a dead pig’s head when he was at university.