By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Former Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood has branded Diego Costa “a serial cheat” in the wake of the striker’s display at Emirates Stadium at the weekend.

Costa was upended by Gunners defender Per Mertesacker when through on goal in the 17th minute of the match and Mark Clattenburg responded by handing the German a straight red card.

Costa took full advantage of the contact with a theatrical triple roll across the ground before clambering to his feet and scoring the match’s decisive goal just minutes later.

It handed Guus Hiddink’s side a 1-0 victory and put a dent in the title challenge of Arsenal, who are three points adrift of leaders Leicester.

“He is a serial cheat and he gets away with it,” Hill-Wood said to the Daily Star. “I think he deliberately ran in front of Mertesacker, who hardly touched him.

“Yet Costa rolls around as if his legs have been cut off. Once the red card’s been shown, he’s suddenly perfectly all right again.

That’s because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with him. There certainly wasn’t soon after when he scored that goal.

“Personally I think the referee should have sent him off for diving. It’s very annoying because to me it is blatant.”

Arsenal are third in the Premier League on 44 points, behind Manchester City and Leicester, while Chelsea are 13th in the table on 28 points.