EPL Stoppage Time: Matchday Six

Thomas Stelzer is back with another edition of EPL Stoppage Time, taking on the Diego Costa fallout, Eva Carneiro’s departure and the funk in the North East.

In Cervantes’ classic Spanish novel Don Quixote, the eponymous protagonist mistakes a collection of windmills on the horizon for giants, a perceived adversary he righteously and mistakenly tries to engage and slay. This episode gave us the idiom ‘tilting at windmills’, meaning to attack imaginary or incorrectly perceived enemies, specifically for misguided heroic or idealistic motivations.

The phrase seems oddly relevant this week after the fallout from Diego Costa’s latest antics in Chelsea’s controversial 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday. Having managed to commit half a dozen red card offences in a matter of minutes, Costa somehow also managed to get Gabriel sent off for the most innocuous piece of violent conduct you’ll see also season, whilst himself escaping with only a yellow card.

The Spanish striker, whose attitude towards opposition players is startlingly akin to Quixote’s approach to windmills, that is, to violently engage them like a one-man holy war, retrospectively earned himself a three-match ban for his conduct. But this was not enough for some Arsenal fans. Never ones to miss a chance to emotionally overreact, a group of Gunners have launched a boycott of popular UK business Costa Coffee until Gabriel’s return to action.

The high street chain, unless I am very much mistaken, has no relationship with the Chelsea player and has become the victim of a moral crusade that even Don Quixote himself would draw the line at. It is entirely possible the campaign is all a bit of fun, but it so effectively captures the mindset of the modern Arsenal fan that it’s firmly in Poe’s Law territory. Costa Coffee, for what’s it worth, saw the humour in the situation.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, and staying on the subject of giant-slaying, West Ham continued their shock start to the season with a 2-1 victory over the previously-unbeaten Manchester City. Having already taken the scalps of Liverpool at Anfield and Arsenal at the Emirates, the Hammers defended for their lives in the second half to hold on for an impressive victory against the champions elect. Slaven Bilic described the winning feeling as being like ‘walking into a pub full of girls’, a simile that will make perfect sense to full-blooded, male football fans across the country.

It was business as usual for Sunderland and Newcastle, both losing to newly promoted sides in the latest chapter of the ongoing Tyne-Wear race to the bottom. With the wooden spoon looking like the only trophy likely to head to the North East for next couple of years, neither side can afford to pick up too many points.

Anthony Martial furthered his claim as the greatest thing since a pub full of girls, as his brace secured Manchester United’s come-from-behind win at Southampton and providing Martin Tyler with more than enough material to get through those lonely nights.

But in the most heartbreaking story of the week, Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has left the London club six weeks after her much-publicised run in with Jose Mourinho. She made the decision to not return to the club and, in the meantime, is considering her options, who knows, she may even pop up in an East End pub if Bilic is lucky.