Since Didier Drogba first left Chelsea after his Munich heroics, the club have lacked a talismanic figure to lead the line up front. Mourinho’s solution? The Ivorian was re-signed last summer, slightly older, slightly worse for wear, but Didier all the same. The true masterstroke on the club’s part, however, was convincing one of the best strikers in world football to leave Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid and join Chelsea. £32 million later, Diego Costa was a Blue and the striker already looks to be a certainty in the market for the Premier League’s Golden Boot award. But why is he so likely to become the first Spaniard to win the individual honour?
Costa has scored 17 goals in 19 Premier League appearances; an astonishing record given this is the striker’s first season in England. It certainly appears Costa favours the Premier League ahead of other tournaments. The 26-year-old has failed to score in any other competition for Chelsea since joining from Atletico Madrid last summer.
Jose Mourinho has effectively been forced to schedule Costa’s appearances around his gradual recovery from a hamstring injury. On numerous occasions already this season, the striker has been doubtful for upcoming matches only to end up on both the team-sheet and the score-sheet.
The prospect of a fully fit Diego Costa is a mouth-watering one for Chelsea fans. The striker dominates defenders, holding the ball up brilliantly while brushing off those who try to stop him. Costa is more than just a goal scorer. He suits Chelsea’s freshly aesthetically pleasing style of play.
Fittingly, the timing of Costa’s transfer to West London came at the perfect time for both Chelsea and the player. The Blues were desperate for a striker with last season’s trio of frontmen – Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba – all departing in the summer. Costa was worthy of a big move.
Arguably, he was already plying his trade in the upper echelons of world football. Thanks in part to their former talisman, Atletico Madrid won La Liga and reached the Champions League final last term, which Costa limped out of early on. But the possibility of joining a club with perhaps even more potential to succeed than Atletico, as well as receiving a hefty pay rise of course, was too good an opportunity for the striker to turn down. Costa was expected to suit the Premier League’s fast and ferocious style, and he hasn’t let the club or the fans down in that regard.
Many matches in England’s top division tend to be riddled with defensive errors at present. This perceived lack of quality is perhaps why Costa’s introduction has appeared so simple. Regardless of the help he is receiving, there is no doubting his quality. Averaging almost a goal per game is no mean feat. That’s not to say others aren’t close to matching his incredible record.
Costa’s closest competitor for the Golden Boot is Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, who has netted 14 goals in only 16 appearances for the champions. In many ways, the Argentine bears certain similarities to Costa. He dominates when leading the line as a lone striker due to the quality he has around him combined with his individual ability. But injuries have hampered Aguero’s season too, as they so often have throughout his Manchester City career.
The reoccurrence of said fitness issues only bodes well for Chelsea and Costa in regards for the title race and the battle for the Golden Boot. Both players’ capability to stay fit will go a long way in deciding where the Premier League trophy ends up in May. And with personal glory on the cards, Costa and Aguero will be even more determined to make their goals count.