In each of the last two seasons, Diego Costa has been Chelsea’s top goal scorer, despite not always being either fully fit or in the best of form.
That was particularly the case during the early part of last season, whereby after scoring 20 Premier League goals in his maiden year with Chelsea, Costa’s goal scoring touch largely deserted him.
Specifically during the first half of the 2015-2016 Premier League season, the 27-year-old striker scored just three goals in 14 games, although Costa’s performances markedly improved thereafter, as he rediscovered his confidence and predatory instincts. Subsequently in 14 post Christmas Premier League games, Costa scored nine goals, with the Spanish internationalist carrying that fine form into the current season.
Just as Costa did in his first year – 2014-2015 – with Chelsea, he has scored in the club’s first two Premier League games of the season. Both of those have ended in 2-1 victories for Chelsea, with Costa scoring a late winning goal in each, to give Antonio Conte a 100% winning start in the Premier League.
Nevertheless whilst undoubtedly being Chelsea’s early season hero, Costa has also played the role of villain, since prior to scoring against both West Ham and Watford, the powerful forward was fortunate to avoid being sent off.
After being booked for dissent in Chelsea’s 2-1 win over West Ham, Costa then narrowly escaped being sent off for a dangerous late challenge on the Hammers goalkeeper Adrian. Similarly against Watford for remonstrating with the referee, Costa again received a yellow card, whilst he may have picked up a second, after appearing to dive inside the Hornets penalty area.
As such in both of Chelsea’s first two games of the 2016-2017 English Premier League season, Costa has been both an inspirational and controversial figure. Ultimately that typifies his reputation as an enigmatic player, who whilst capable of brilliance, is also highly prone to making rash decisions and incurring the wrath of referees, which often conspires to jeopardise his ability to play a positive role for Chelsea, as testified when he served a suspension for ill – discipline during the second half of last season.
After being sent-off in Chelsea’s 2-0 F.A Cup quarter final defeat to Everton on March 12 for apparently attempting to bite Gareth Barry, with whom he had an on running battle throughout the game, Costa was banned for three matches, which interrupted a spell of prolific goal scoring for the striker, whereby he had scored 11 goals in 15 games.
Therefore despite being a prodigiously talented centre forward, capable of efficiently spearheading Chelsea’s attack, just as he has done so in the club’s first two games of this season, Costa attracts significant controversy, which represents an aspect of the former Atletico Madrid player’s game that often detracts from his super goal – scoring ability.
However in order to iron out any deficiencies in both his character and game, Costa has the support of Antonio Conte, who can undoubtedly help his first choice striker behave in a more level headed and balanced manner on the field of play.