The outlaws of the game don’t get enough credit for their accomplishments and Diego Costa is a perfect example of that. We will look at how he became a key component of the recent success of Chelsea in the premier league after securing a move to the Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2014.
Why Chelsea signed Costa?
Jose Mourinho bought Deigo Costa because Chelsea needed an elite striker to propel them to the summit. He didn’t trust Lukaku and it was impossible to mount a title challenge with Ba, Eto’o and Torres. Diego Costa came off an elite goal scoring season at Atletico scoring 36 goals in 50 matches. Having a prolific goal scorer in your team is very important if your main target is to win the league, Suarez in 13/14 came really close to winning the EPL for liverpool, Van persie another example who won the EPL for Sir Alex’s united and Chelsea lacked a goal scorer like that and in Diego Costa they found the missing piece of the puzzle.
Impact and injuries:
In his first season he didn’t disappoint and had an instant impact by scoring 7 goals in the first 4 matches, establishing Chelsea as clear favorites. He ended the season with 20 goals in the league in 26 league matches though that didn’t mean he was not criticized, because of his wild nature he was often targeted, sometimes fairly and sometimes not by pundits and refs. I like to call them “Costa Crimes”. Recurring hamstring issues throughout the season also didn’t help Costa and he was often slammed by his manager Jose Mourinho for his lack of training, He only played 37 games in all competitions as compared to the 52 in the previous season with Atletico and his poor form in the Champions League also didn’t help Costa though he won the EPL and the League cup with Chelsea in his first season.
The turbulent season:
2015/16 was a very erratic season for any one associated with Chelsea football club. Their dream of retaining their premier league title was over pretty quickly as they only managed 11 points in their first 12 matches. The whole team was in shambles, Jose Mourinho had lost the dressing room as usual, Eden Hazard and other big names including Diego Costa were misfiring and Jose was sacked in December. It was a really tough season for Diego Costa he was dropped against Spurs by Jose in November and he only managed 12 league goals ( Chelsea’s Highest scorer) as compared to the 20 goals he scored last season. There were again speculations that Diego Costa will leave Chelsea as he was branded as ‘rat’ by Chelsea supporters and was blamed for the sacking of Jose alongside Fabregas and Eden Hazard.
The bittersweet season:
He started his final pre-season at Chelsea really badly, constantly pushing for a move but it didn’t reciprocate the same way so he stayed. He had an insanely good first half of the season. Winners vs West ham, a brace vs Liverpool in a 2-2 draw, a match winning assist and a memorable performance against City which turned the game around were some of his notable performances from that season. He then took it to the next level by bagging winners vs West Brom , Middlesbrough and Palace in a very tough period. His 15 goals and 5 assists in his first nineteen matches truly carried Chelsea, where he only needed half a chance to turn it into something effective. That was all the sweeter part of the season now lets discuss the bitter part of the season. It went downhill after January when he fell out with Conte, had a bust-up with the fitness coach and was constantly pushing for a move to China for a 570k/week offer. He was taken out of the team for a week by Conte but was brought back after him and Conte decided to call a truce. But he never recovered and had an awful second half of the season. Notable terrible performances came against Manchester United and Crystal Palace. His only significant performance in the second half of the season came against Arsenal in the Fa Cup final by bagging an equalizer.
Of course it wasn’t a perfect season for Costa and was full of controversies but his impact can’t be denied as he dragged the team out of the tough spots in the first half of the season and perhaps without his goals Chelsea wouldn’t have won the Premier League in 16/17.
“Hi Diego, I hope you are well. Thanks for the season we spent together. Good luck for the next year but you are not in my plan.”
This was the text message Antonio Conte sent to Diego Costa before the start of the new season.
Return to Atletico Madrid:
It was clear that Conte and Costa would never work together and thus this led to the sale of Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid for £57m. Costa has always been a favourite of Simeone who wanted him back at the club and even demanded it as part of his recent contract negotiations. The Spanish international will be allowed to train with Atlético but he cannot be registered to play for them until the ban is lifted on January 1 2018.
Legacy at Chelsea:
Helping Jose lift his first premier league title during his second spell at the club and aiding Conte to his first Premier League title, one can’t deny the importance of the 59 goals Diego Costa scored for Chelsea in the 3 seasons he spent at the club. Having a better Strike rate than the greatest striker in Chelsea’s history Didier Drogba and being the top scorer for the club for 3 consecutive seasons, Diego Costa’s footprints will forever remain at the Bridge.
Thanks Mustafa for your help :)