Has the FA's Diego Costa Suspension Just Kick-Started Chelsea's Season?

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Gabriel of Arsenal and Diego Costa of Chelsea argue during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

The performances of the past week have hinted at a change in direction for Chelsea.

Now that Diego Costa has received his retrospective three-match ban from the FA for violent conduct against Arsenal, it seems their season has too.

The FA announced news of Costa's ban on Tuesday evening.

Jose Mourinho has been scratching around for some inspiration to get his team up and running on the back of their sluggish start to 2015/16 and the FA may well have just given him it.

The Chelsea manager loves nothing more than a scandal, which is how he'll be sure to paint Costa's ban.

Mourinho will use it to motivate his players, to create that famed siege mentality that has delivered him success time and time again.

Chelsea fans will bemoan Costa's suspension—it means he won't be seen in domestic competition this side of October's international break—but in private Mourinho will be relishing it.

Especially as the suspension was dished out on the same day the FA confirmed Arsenal's Gabriel has had his red card from Saturday rescinded.

It's a double injustice for the Premier League champions, Mourinho will claim. They may well have three points in the bag, but the FA has ensured they're paying the ultimate price for it.

While Costa was lucky to remain on the pitch against Arsenal on Saturday, there was no doubt that Gabriel deserved his red card for kicking out at the Chelsea striker.

Even Arsene Wenger, well-known for rarely seeing the infringements of his players, couldn't hide from that one.

"Gabriel deserved his red card," he confessed in the post-match press conference before calling on the FA to ban Costa.

"It's the least they can do," Wenger said.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Regardless of whether or not Gabriel's petulant kick at Costa made any significant contact is beyond the point. The intent was there and as the letter of the law tells us these days, that's the important factor. Contact means little.

Plenty of players have seen red for that reason.

The fact the English authorities have behaved inconsistently in this instance only plays into Mourinho's hands.

Last season was the year of Costa Crimes. Well, now we have the sequel, and like the Hollywood equivalent, it isn't anywhere near as entertaining.

If there were odds on how long it will take Mourinho to quote the much-used "Campaign Against Chelsea" line in the coming days, they would certainly be short.

And in only the way he knows, he will use it to galvanise his players.

Costa played against Arsenal with the aggression Chelsea have been missing since they lifted the Premier League. He did overstep the mark, but he was equally antagonised by Arsenal defenders on an afternoon when all parties came out unfavourably.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Diego Costa of Chelsea is shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on September 19, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ross Ki
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

That's not to excuse him, but Costa's desire in that game sparked Chelsea into life. It woke them from their slumber.

Now Mourinho will take it that step further. The fact Gabriel has been let off lightly will give him cause to suggest nobody likes the club or his players and that they want them to fail.

Mourinho's logic will go so far as to suggest that when it seems Chelsea are turning around their form, the authorities want to weaken them.

If that doesn't get the fires of intent burning in his squad of superstars, then nothing will. And Mourinho knows it.

Suddenly, Chelsea have a point to prove to the world again.

He'll complain publicly, but in time Mourinho may well be thanking the FA for this latest gift.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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