Alan Smith sends warning to Arsenal players over Chelsea star

Alan Smith warns Arsenal's players to be wary of Diego Costa in Sunday's clash with Chelsea

Alan Smith has told Arsenal’s players not to allow themselves to be wound up by Diego Costa during Sunday’s Premier League showdown with Chelsea.

The Gunners host their London rivals at Emirates Stadium looking to secure a victory to boost their top-flight title hopes, with Arsene Wenger’s men currently top of the table on goal difference.

Costa was involved in the incident which resulted in Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista being sent off during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over the Gunners at Stamford Bridge back in September, although the red card was later rescinded.

The Spain international striker has been passed fit for Sunday’s clash by manager Guus Hiddink – and former Arsenal man Smith has warned the Gunners squad not to be drawn into any arguments with the forward.

Smith told talkSPORT on Friday: “Costa was key at Stamford Bridge, when Gabriel got sucked into that spat.

“He was a bit naïve to get sent off in that game, but I’m sure Arsene Wenger will talk with his defenders about Costa and just say, ‘don’t get involved, just concentrate on your game’.

“Diego Costa absolutely loves winding players up. He thrives of it and he does a bit too much now, I think it detracts from his game.

“But the Arsenal boys do not want to be getting involved in that on Sunday.”

Arsenal, who finished third last term, are looking to win their first Premier League title since their famous unbeaten triumph in the 2003-04 campaign.

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