Chelsea: Can We Really Rely On Diego Costa?
It is probably good advice to tell Chelsea fans to steer clear of Tequila, Sambuca and any alcoholic beverage really. Why you may ask? Well the answer is simple and it only consists of one word: forwards.
It is probably wise to begin with the most depressing of the bunch. Bad news worst and all that. Yes, it is Fernando Torres.
The forward has done the impossible. He has managed what seemed difficult for even him. He has actually gotten worse.
Torres has spent pre-season being given every chance possible by Jose Mourinho, on the left, up top, as the main man. Just about everything Mourinho could do to make him feel comfortable he has done. Including importing half the Spanish national side - most from his beloved Atletico Madrid too.
That, ever so shockingly, did not work. Torres has become an internet sensation with a new vine produced and going viral each time he plays – and it is not a vine of a goal. Oh, no, it is one of a shocking miss. Torres, at the minute makes Danny Welbeck look Ballon d’Or worthy.
It is a pretty firm bet that most Blues fans felt the most depressed they had in a while when Jose Mourinho announced that Torres would be staying at the club, and then a day later sold Romelu Lukaku. Let’s just gloss right over that one for the sake of retaining our sanity.
Torres is the man who will be expected to lead the line should anything happen to the men ahead of him in the pecking order, and exactly that has happened one of those players.
Didier Drogba is injured. The 36 year old is the number one legend in the eyes of Chelsea fans (yes Frank, you have been rightly usurped) and his return has been heavily analysed. Drogba will certainly add to the dressing room and probably contribute on the field as well, if only in terms of leadership. Bringing back Drogba as a third choice forward could well have been a master stroke. Bringing him back as the alternative to Diego Costa however is a disaster.
Costa, who has had one outstanding season in what has other been a mediocre career. He fired Atletico Madrid to the title and Champions League final and was, without a doubt, one of the best players in the Liga last season. But he had Arda Turan, David Villa, Koke and other top players around him.
At Chelsea, he may have the likes of Oscar and Cesc Fabregas to provide him with the Koke esque passes and assists but he does not have an Arda or a Villa to share the goal burden on him. Luckily for Costa, he is off to a flyer and the two goals in seven minutes at Stamford Bridge certainly helped.
It must be said, there are those who are not convinced however, with the forward’s World Cup probably playing a part in that. Spain’s utter inability to adapt to the style Costa needs to thrive aside, he was coming back from an injury that he had played through for the latter stage of the league campaign and was both physically and emotionally spent. Not to mention booed by the Brazilian crowd and trolled by everyone including an advert claiming their car 'will make Brazilian's proud, unlike Diego Costa.'
He is certainly a Mourinho type player. Anyone who has seen him play would tell you that – he works, tracks back and gives it all for the team. Not only that but he is no stranger to indulging in the dark arts either. Anyone who cites Diego Simeone as one of their mentors would not be any other way.
Said dark arts may be part and parcel with the player, but along with those and a temper – which Costa certainly has – comes suspensions be they yellow card accumulated or red, and Chelsea will have to find another way to score goals when he is not around. Likewise if Costa succumbed to injury, the Blues would, well to put it bluntly, be royally f***ed.
It is this, not wondering if Costa will bed in at the club, that has worried Chelsea fans most this summer. The addition of Cesc has been flawless and something to have high hopes about. It takes a very good player to bring sexy football to a Jose Mourinho team yet Cesc has managed it on occasion.
Likewise Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Andre Schurrle will all be hoping to add goals with the latter once being used as a false nine by Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford last season and now looking to have his breakout season going from super sub to untouchable on the team sheet. There are certainly roles up for grabs and if Schurrle can get the ball in the back of the net, Mourinho may not be able to afford to leave him out.
Ask Chelsea fans what they think the season has in store for them and they will probably be optimistic. It is a make or break season for them and keep Costa fit and in that starting 11 and titles will come. See Costa injured however and p45’s will be handed out at the end of the season, not winners medals.
Closest title rivals Manchester City have seen Alvaro Negredo ruled out for at least four months ,with Sergio Aguero suffering with injury issues towards the end of the season and during the World Cup and clearly needing a break. If this was Costa, or even Drogba, there would be no hard liquor left in west London.
City however are able to promote fourth choice forward Stevan Jovetic up a couple of spots and see him score for fun during pre-season. Had he not, it would hardly have been cause for concern, because, oh there is Edin Dzeko. This is not even taking into account the goals City get in exchange for birthday cakes from Yaya Toure or even David Silva. Having four world class forwards was the only thing separating them from Chelsea last season in the title race. The Blues were better in every single other department – and it looks like being a carbon copy this season.
If the level of panic when your returning 36 year old forward - who has clearly seen better days - is injured and out for any significant period of time is as bad as it became with Didier Drogba, that, if nothing else should tell Mourinho he simply has to buy another forward before the transfer window slams shut. Costa or not.
Chelsea fans: what do you think the season has in store for you? Will Costa be able to carry you to the title? Let us know your thoughts below.