It is fair to say that revenge was sought out and achieved by Chelsea, as they outclassed a temperamental Newcastle United side, with goals coming in and Oscar (45′) and Costa (59′) getting themselves on the scoresheet. Chelsea dominated possession but were a bit too volatile in the first 45.
However, the goal at the halfway mark and tactical expertise of Jose Mourinho helped them regain their form at The Bridge once the second half began.
Diego Costa was, hands down, the best-looking player for Chelsea despite his lack of being clinical early on in the game. Here are two non-obvious aspects of the Brazilian-born’s game, suggesting why we thought he was the most effective Chelsea player on the field.
He’s such a communicator, he’s such a group guy: he’s such a happy man that despite not speaking more than 10 words in English, he still speaks with everybody. He can have a conversation and interact with everybody, and he doesn’t understand one single word the person is saying.
But just because of his gestures and body language, and happiness and so on, everybody likes the guy so much. And he comes from Atletico, he comes here, and adapts quickly, he’s the happy guy in the group, he’s not shy. It’s fantastic.
I say to him every time, ‘Do you need me to explain something in Portuguese?’ And he shrugs and says, ‘I understand everything.”
– Jose Mourinho on Diego Costa [SOURCE: ESPN]
THE DEFENSIVE CENTER-FORWARD
With 15 goals to his name and leading the top-scorers list for this Premier League season, Costa has established himself as a reliable and persistent goal-getter. But his “defending-from-the-front” attribute is what sets him apart from most other forwards in EPL. He seemed to have covered the whole of the away-third portion of the field when the Newcastle defenders had the ball, chasing them and pinning them down (figuratively!) if a pass wasn’t made quick enough to a Newcastle midfielder. This put the opposition defenders under a lot of pressure, with Willian, too, coming in and defending from the front. The defenders were forced to make hasty long passes that failed to reach its intended target on several situations. All in all, the work rate that was shown defensively was beyond the expectations of a striker.
Diego Costa has been starting on almost every Premier League game from the dawn of the 2014-15 season, and has been playing for an average of 80 minutes per match. He has scored 15 goals in 18 appearances in the league. With this amount of playing time and confidence gained, a forward can easily lose touch and not perform up to his standards once in a while. This was seen especially in the first half of yesterday’s game. One instance was when the ball was threaded through to Costa on the counterattack, and he was on the run in a slightly wider position. He got into the opposition box with Hazard dwelling in to the center of the box and only two Newcastle defenders to surpass. Costa could have easily netted a goal for himself if he had gone for a sidefooted shot with proper placement, and he was expected to do just that. But instead, he tried to put the ball to the feet of Hazard, and the ball was intercepted by a Newcastle marker. This was one situation where the 26-year-old showed some hesitancy and lack of confidence.
But however, he got back into his stride and showed real character when in the second half of the game, he worked ever so hard in the away-third of the field regardless of whether his team had possession. He scored a peach of a goal to show for it.
DIEGO COSTA: CHELSEA’S BEST PLAYER AGAINST NEWCASTLE UNITED
No forward likes doing all the dirty work from the front. Most expect balls to be fed in the final third of the pitch for them to capitalise on. But this man, however, is a 100% performer in every sense of the term as a footballer. He seems to love doing all the hard work in getting the ball back and regaining possession wherever he is found to be on the field. Once he gets the ball back, he plays a quick ball back to Willian or Hazard in the flanks, and immediately Chelsea find themselves going on counterattacking mode. He is a definite goal-getter, he is strong, tall, pacey and an accurate shot-taker, with 3 shots on target last evening out of which one resulted in a goal. The crowd loves him, we love him, and the team loves him as well for his communication skills.
He stands on top of the list of top-scorers, and who’s to argue about him winning the golden boot at the end of the season, considering Aguero’s ever-present fitness issues?
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt