Diego Costa is an aggressive wind-up merchant who took his tactics too far when Chelsea faced Arsenal, according to Alan Shearer.
The former Newcastle United striker still tops the all-time Premier League goalscoring charts after netting 260 times in the top flight.
Costa has received an FA charge for “an alleged act of violent conduct” after raising arms to Laurent Koscielny in Saturday’s game, which came before he clashed with Gabriel, who was sent off in the aftermath.
The Spain international’s manager Jose Mourinho leapt to the defence of his performance and, while Shearer does not believe Costa is a dirty player, he does think things went too far against the Gunners.
“I would describe him as an aggressive wind-up merchant,” the 45-year-old wrote in The Sun.
“Winding up defenders is fair game — it happens, whether you like it or not. Central defenders try to kick you and Costa is turning it around and doing the same.
“You try to get one step ahead of the game and stand up for yourself. You let the defenders know that you won’t be intimidated and they can’t kick you.
“I would rather have Diego Costa in my team than against me, but he is treading a fine line.
“He is a street fighter. I like his aggression and the way he doesn’t allow himself to be bullied by big central defenders.
“But there is a line and he crossed that against Arsenal.”
Mourinho has confirmed that Costa, who could face a ban for his antics, will not start Wednesday’s League Cup tie at Walsall.