Except for one. Then the whistles turned to boos. Number 19, Diego Costa. It was probably the reception he expected. It is usually the reception he relishes.
Especially from the Arsenal fans. He has been their bogeyman, the tormentor of the Gunners, the man who gets their defenders sent off and Arsene Wenger wound up.
If this was his goodbye to Chelsea – and with the prospect of a hugely lucrative move to China, it may well be – it seemed fitting it would be against Arsenal.
It seemed inevitable he would score. When Chelsea were down to 10 men, seemingly overrun and overcome, he did. The substitute Willian crossed. Costa chested the ball away from the rookie Rob Holding and shot beyond David Ospina.
Diego Costa has terrorised Arsenal during his time at Chelsea
It was his 22nd of his most prolific season in England. It was his 59th goal for Chelsea. Quite possibly his last, too. The only surprise is that he may not depart as a Double winner.
Costa helped propel Chelsea to Premier League glory. His goal was not enough to spare them FA Cup defeat. Aaron Ramsey rescued Arsenal but even then, Costa almost scored a second equaliser. Ospina flung himself to the turf to save his low shot. Arsenal had their revenge on a man who bullied them mercilessly.
They will not miss Costa. A divisive figure has been football’s second most notorious Diego, Chelsea’s snarling, scowling, squabbling, scrapping spearhead. He has got Gabriel and Per Mertesacker sent off in the past. He has taken over Didier Drogba’s mantle as the man who shot down the Gunners.
Even the teamsheet suggested it would be Costa’s day. The striker preys on the weak and Arsenal’s defence was weakened, missing three first-choice centre-backs and a left-back.
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David Ospina – 6
But for 75 minutes, Wenger’s stand-ins stood up to the task of halting him. His reserves did something their supposed superiors rarely do.
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Costa encountered unexpected resistance. When he had his first shot, Nacho Monreal and Holding flung themselves at it to block. When Costa used his cunning to escape from Holding, second-string goalkeeper Ospina made a terrific save.
Mertesacker was in imperious form, scarcely looking a player with just 37 minutes of football behind him this season. So Costa showed his calculating streak. He tried to isolate himself against Holding.
That brought the leveller. That showed why Costa will not be easy to replace.
Diego Costa levelled against Arsenal but couldn't break them down a second time
Not just for his goals, but for his nuisance value.
Chelsea’s problem was that his team-mates did not allow him to be as much of a nuisance as usual. Even a forward like Costa needs service. He had too little as Arsenal forced Chelsea back.
Eden Hazard had one of his quieter games. N’Golo Kante lost the midfield battle. Conte’s usually influential wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses were forced back. When the Nigerian did get into the Arsenal box, he was sent off for diving.
When Chelsea exited the FA Cup last year, Costa was the man who saw red, dismissed in defeat to Everton at Goodison Park. Strangely, considering how controversial he has been, it is his only sending off in Chelsea colours. He did not finish this game either. He was strangely taken off with two minutes to go. Perhaps, now, Arsenal have seen him off for good.