Arsenal was forced to take on the second half of their match with Chelsea with only ten men on the pitch. This was mostly due to the immaturity of Gabriel paulista for sticking his nose where it did not belong.
Towards the end of the first half, Diego Costa, who had been harassing Arsenal defenders near the edge of the rules all afternoon, got into a small scuffle with Laurent Koscielny. It began with the Arsenal defender receiving a smack to the face while the pair were fighting for the ball. It continued with a few words from the Frenchman and a chest bump from Costa, sending Koscielny to the ground.
My thought at this point was that Costa should have been sent off. Not only did he deliver a slap to the face, but he brought Koscielny to the ground with an aggressive and unnecessary action. When he seemed to be getting away without punishment, I sort of supported what happened next.
While Koscielny kept his cool and mostly walked away from the situation, Gabriel stepped into "defend" his teammate. There was shouting between him and Costa, but no real physical contact as both players were shown yellow cards. Okay, I thought, at least he got something for it, even if ift meant Gabriel had to take one for the team to get it done.
That really should have been the end of it. However, the 24 year old Brazilian wouldn't let Costa go. As the players backed down and looked almost ready to resume play, Gabriel stomped his foot onto Costa's leg right in front of Dean, earning himself a deserved red card.
This was just plain stupid from Gabriel. He had his say already. He helped Costa get the yellow at the cost of a yellow card for himself. The incident, which I remind you he was never a part of to begin with, was over. Everyone was ready to move on and get back to the game, That is, everyone except Gabriel, who felt the need to take one more shot at the controversial Chelsea forward.
After the game, Arsene Wenger lamented that Costa had remained on the pitch. He was quite physical all game, and probably should have had a yellow card earlier in the match. It is also debateable that the slap in the face into chest bump combo should have been red card worthy as well. Regardless of any punishment, or lack thereof, for Costa, there was no excuse for Gabriel's involvement.
Mike Dean, understandably, wanted to keep both teams at full strength after the original scrum, The game was moving well, it was exciting to watch even without any goals, and there was no real heat between the two clubs. Gabriel's transgressions forced his hand, however. After prolonging things as much as he did, there was no reason not to send him off.
I know managers calling out their players in post game interviews is never kosher, but if I'm Wenger after the match, I publicly reprimand Gabriel for his actions that can be described as nothing more than idiotic. He was baited in by a player who has a reputation of being a bit of a jackass, while his teammate was okay moving on as quickly as possible. As a result, he cost his team a real chance to get a point or more in a very difficult fixture.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who is never at a loss for words, was still unhappy with Dean's officiating. He mentioned a couple of "clear penalties" that should have gone against Arsenal. Of course, he had nothing to say about Costa's performance at the end of the first half and fully supported Gabriel getting the gate.
The entire tone of the match changed after that one play. Chelsea had no reason not to press forward with everything they had. They got their goal and were then content to play keep away from Arsenal. Just when the Gunners were starting to make a few moves towards a tying goal, Santi Cazorla let frustration get the better of him and earned a second yellow for a bad tackle in Chelsea's half of the field. It was an unnecessary challenge and a certain yellow. A player of Cazorla's experience should know better than to even try it.
In the end, Chelsea grabbed another goal while up a pair of players. Arsenal can chalk up another disheartening loss at Stamford Bridge to their own stupidity and immaturity. If Gabriel never confronts Costa, then Arsenal likely scraps out a scoreless draw, or at least puts them in a good spot to tie the game after going down. Heck, they might even snag the first goal themselves and end up winning the match. But none of that happens with less than a full compliment of players in the game. And they don't go down to ten, then nine, men, if their young defender had his head screwed on straight.