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Could Diego Costa's ban be the difference as Chelsea prepare to face champions Manchester City?


Chelsea forward Diego Costa could have dealt his side's title ambitions a blow after being being charged with violent conduct by the FA.

The Spain international was involved in several flashpoints as he helped Chelsea to secure their spot at Wembley with a 2-1 aggregate win over Liverpool in the League Cup semi-finals.

But one incident, where he looked to have intentionally stamped on Liverpool's Emre Can, has brought the wrath of the FA down on him as his side prepare to face the Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.

The incident was not seen by referee Michael Oliver, allowing the governing body to act retrospectively by charging the forward with violent conduct, which is an automatic three match ban.

Costa still has time to appeal the decision and make himself available for the top of the table clash, but has to respond by 6pm on Thursday to do so.

If he does appeal, it will be fast tracked through the system in order to allow him to play on Saturday, were the charge overturned.

Jose Mourinho defended Costa after the match, stating that the stamp, and a second one involving Martin Skrtel, were not intentional, and whilst the FA agree the second stamp was, they have taken issue with the first.

Mourinho will be loathe to lose his side's top scorer, a miss that will also be compounded by the expected absence of the Premier League's leading assist maker Cesc Fabregas, who came off during the clash with Liverpool with an apparant injury.

Whilst Chelsea currently have a five point lead over their title rivals, a win for City, in a match billed as 'the biggest of the season', would put them right back in the mix, and certainly sway the momentum in their favour.

Costa's ban also came on the same day manager Mourinho was fined £25,000 by the FA for comments he made relating to a supposed 'conspiracy' against his side.

Should Chelsea lose on Saturday with Costa absent, the former Real Madrid manager will surely feel that conspiracy is still in place.
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