“Chelsea FC (and Spain) striker Diego Cos” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
The resurgence of Diego Costa has played an integral part in Chelsea’s excellent start to the Premier League season. The Spain international has already notched 12 goals in his 15 outings this term and looks on course to better his tally of 20 strikes accrued during his first term at Stamford Bridge.
Costa was one of many of the Blues’ stars that were below-par in the defence of their top-flight crown last term. He was completely off the pace in the first half of the season and his lack of form appeared to get the better of him, leading to disciplinary issues.
However, following the departure of Jose Mourinho in December, he managed to turn the corner under Guus Hiddink and finished the term with a respectable 12 Premier League goals. The 28-year-old was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge over the summer to rejoin Atletico Madrid in the aftermath of Chelsea’s signing of Michy Batshuayi.
Instead of prompting his exit from the Blues, the signing of the Belgian has inspired Costa to reach the peak of his powers. Should he continue to find the net with such regularity it would be no surprise to see Chelsea re-claim the top-flight title, with the club currently backed at 5/6 in the latest bet365 football betting odds to lift the trophy at the end of the term.
The forward has thrived playing under Antonio Conte and his 3-4-3 system, which has allowed Costa and Eden Hazard ample room in the final third to exploit opposing defences. Not only has the Spain international scored 12 goals this term, but he also contributed five assists for his team-mates to find the net.
Chelsea’s style of play this season has suited him extremely well, allowing him to capitalise one-on-one situations, with his strike against Manchester City being a classic example. Faced with a long ball he bested Nicolas Otamendi to win possession before controlling and burying his effort past Claudio Bravo. It’s simple football at its best, but when Costa’s finishing skills are on form there are not many strikers in the world that can match his production in the final third.
“Chelsea players celebrate Diego Costa’s” (CC BY 2.0) by Ben Sutherland
Conte will be delighted with Costa’s form in front of the net, but one of the most pleasing aspects of his current run is the consistency he has displayed throughout the campaign. The 28-year-old does not score goals in bunches – other than his match-saving brace against Swansea City.
He has scored in 12 of the club’s Premier League games this season, netting decisive strikes against Watford, West Ham United, Middlesbrough and West Brom, all of which earned the Blues victories. The points earned from those goals could be so crucial come the end of the campaign.
Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of Costa’s resurgence has been his improved attitude. Last season opponents found it extremely easy to wind him up, distracting the forward from the task at hand, while he picked up several needless bookings. This term he has played with controlled aggression, and after collecting four yellow cards in the opening six matches – he has now gone nine games without receiving a caution.
Costa holds the key for Chelsea this term. His form could give his side a huge lead in the title race should he maintain his current run over the festive period, and if it were to last the season then it would be no surprise to see him as part of the squad victorious again in May at Stamford Bridge surrounded by confetti.