Diego Costa - Man on fire.

Diego Costa’s performances in a Chelsea shirt have been breathtaking. His attitude, his work rate, his movement in addition to his goal...

Diego Costa’s performances in a Chelsea shirt have been breathtaking. His attitude, his work rate, his movement in addition to his goals has been excellent. Diego Costa is a man on fire again!

With the reported firm interest to take him back to Atletico Madrid this past summer in addition to reports that the player was seeking a return, you would be forgiven in thinking that Diego Costa’s time as a Chelsea player seemed to be over. The move never happened, he remains the focal point of the Chelsea attack under Antonio Conte and he looks like the player of two seasons ago.

There has been plenty written of Diego Costa since he arrived in London with the majority focused on the negative. Despite some of those reports for his tempestuous behavior on the pitch warranted, there is a different side to Costa when he focuses simply on the football and in my view, he does not get anywhere near the credit that he deserves.

Diego Costa is the player that everyone loves to hate away from Chelsea but, at the same time, a player they would love to have in their team. If anything, it’s the biggest compliment you can give him in addition to the admiration he has had from the Chelsea faithful ever since he signed.

Costa has also had his injury problems in recent seasons and his hamstrings have been the major issue with the Champions League Final against Real Madrid the most notable, having to be replaced early in the first half.

Those issues have continued into his Chelsea career and at various stages he has had to miss games due to the same problems. At one stage there was even talk of him going to see a specialist to have an operation to sort his hamstrings out once and for all. However, for one reason or another, that has never materialised.

The Diego Costa we watched last season is the perfect example of the Jekyl and Hyde character the press love to see. For the first part of the season he appeared almost angry, was playing holding a grudge and it affected his game. Rather than hold his position through the middle we would find Costa wide left and in a place where he could not influence the game. The flashpoint against Arsenal and Gabriel was the perfect example of where Costa personally appeared to be for Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho was sacked and Guus Hiddink came back to try and rescue the situation with one of the first changes he wanted to implement was where Diego Costa played. He stated on record that he did not want to see him out wide but to concentrate on playing through the middle, to allow the likes of Hazard, Willian and Pedro to do their work in those areas.

Almost instantly Costa’s body language changed and so did his fortunes on the pitch as he found himself back amongst the goals again. There were no flashpoints in games, physical battles that went above and beyond what is deemed as acceptable and Costa looked to be playing with the weight of the world off of his shoulders as he finished the second half of the season with a fine goal scoring record.

Fortunately for Chelsea and Antonio Conte in particular, Costa looks as though he has the same attitude to his game that he had under Hiddink, back into his game from the start of his season and it’s so good to see.

Diego Costa is not just about scoring goals but most importantly for him, it’s playing a role to help the team win the game. Of course being a Striker you will always be judged on the goals you score but his game is about so much more. He is willing to battle his opponent in the air and on the ground. Although his overall frame is not as muscular as someone like Romelu Lukaku for example, his holdup play is far superior to the young Belgian Striker. His ability to hold the ball up under intense pressure is fantastic.

It’s his work rate that is the most impressive. He always makes himself available for someone to pass to, he makes runs off the ball to open up space for others and is constantly making a probing run giving our midfield an option to play him through on goal. His stamina this season shows a marked improvement and you have to credit the Manager for that and the pre-season regime given to the players.

We expect Diego Costa to suffer another hamstring injury this season based on the injury that has plagued his career for almost three years now. However, the fact that Chelsea have no European Football this year could prove to be a blessing for the Spanish Striker and we hope that finally, it will give them a chance to settle down.

Diego Costa has been outstanding and Chelsea’s best player of the opening seven games this season. He is the Premier League’s top scorer so far with six goals in seven games and let’s hope his impressive form continues.

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