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Is Diego Costa His Own Worst Enemy?

During the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Chelsea striker Diego Costa once again found himself as the center of the attention in the Blues' match against Swansea, as he was involved in two prominent penalty shouts while on the attack. He did not get either call and was quick to show just how upset he was that a penalty was not awarded. Which begs the question: is Diego Costa his own worst enemy at this point?

The first such incident occurred in the 18th minute, when Costa was heading in on goal before a slide tackle by Swansea's Federico Fernandez dislodged the ball and knocked Costa to the ground in the box. The referee, Michael Oliver, did not call a penalty, which upon further review appears to have been the right call as Fernandez does seem to get part of the ball before making contact with Costa (as a Chelsea fan, this was difficult to admit). Costa...disagreed and repeatedly pounded the turf in frustration and shouted "punta, punta" repeatedly in the direction of the official. Hopefully Oliver does not habla espanol.

Then as the match was tied 2-2 in the closing minutes, Costa was shoved down near the box by Swansea captain Ashley Williams...once again, no call. Costa stayed down on the pitch, emerging only to yell in frustration, as manager Jose Mourinho was seen laughing in disbelief from his seat. Pretty clear Costa is just the victim of two questionable calls, no?

Not quite. Within 10 minutes of the first penalty shout, Sportsmail's Kieran Gill, reporting from the match, stated that Costa had just hit JonJo Shelvey with an elbow, as well as running through Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski after Fabianski had cleared the ball.

Highlights of Costa from the Swansea match:

Costa acts like a wilting flower when he has the ball and vigorously protests every call that does not go his way. But he is an absolute terror for defenders when he does not have the ball, utilizing his brute strength to outmuscle and ovepower them at every turn (with the occasional elbow or stomp thrown in for good measure).

Simply put, Costa cannot have it both ways. Referees are human (even if we do not want to admit it) and it would be quite natural if they were not inclined to give a player that consistently shows them up the benefit of the doubt on a questionable call. To say nothing of a player who in addition to showing them up by protesting their non-calls, will push his level of physical contact with the opposition up to (and sometimes beyond) the line of legality. The more he continues his histrionics, the less likely it will be that he gets that questionable call going forward, which in this tight Premier League title race, could be all it takes to miss out on the silverware.

Will Costa learn the error of his ways? I wouldn't bet on it.

All of that said, what this really demonstrates is that the penalty conspiracy against Chelsea Football Club has continued for another season...(there's the fan in me).

Follow Mike Smith on Twitter @thefootiegent

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