How quickly things can change! Diego Costa, one of the major stars in our title win last season, was undoubtedly an untouchable in Jose Mourinho’s side. Controversy follows him like a shadow, but his lethal finishing and stunning consistency made him one of the most feared strikers in the whole of the league.
He scored 20 goals in his debut season in the Premier League; surely, he would only get better in his second campaign. But, just like everything else for us this season, it has gone horribly wrong for Costa at the start of the 2015/16 season. His presence is lacking big-time, and the camera has only been on him for the wrong reasons. He did score against West Brom in our only win so far, but overall, he has cut a sorry figure.
There is no doubt that changing Costa’s belligerent personality will render him less effective. But, his histrionics aren’t doing the team any good.
The most frustrating thing as a fan is to see a player stop playing when a decision isn’t given his way. Instead of getting straight back up and chasing down the defender, Costa spends the next few seconds moaning, complaining and gingerly getting to his feet. This isn’t doing the team any good whatsoever, and the referees’ resolve to not give him any easy free-kicks is only going to get stronger with every passing game.
His game has been drastically affected by his obnoxious behaviour, and it hasn’t been very difficult to opposition defenders to deal with his threat. His movement caused the opponents to be constantly looking over their shoulders last season, but now he hasn’t been making enough runs in behind. Losses in form for Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas haven’t helped, of course.
An alternative solution
Last season, Didier Drogba didn’t have the legs to play 90 minutes Week-in, Week-out as the first-choice striker. Loic Remy scored whenever he played but had his constant problems with injuries. Moreover, it was apparent that Mourinho didn’t trust the Frenchman enough to do it on a regular basis for Chelsea.
In the summer, we brought in Radamel Falcao, fresh from a miserable season at Manchester United. The loan deal from Monaco was looked on by fans more with apprehension than excitement, as it was widely believed that the Colombian’s best days were behind him.
He was, of course, one of the best strikers in the whole of Europe not too long ago and Chelsea fans will remember the stunning hat trick he scored against us for Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in 2012.
After a lukewarm start, Falcao has looked lively and dangerous in his last couple of appearances. He got his first goal for us against Crystal Palace last Saturday, and his wild celebrations clearly showed how much it meant to him. He chased down everything and looked for every opportunity to get into space and ask for the ball. In short, he did everything Costa did last season.
Even though he hasn’t been as effective as the Spaniard was at the start of the last campaign, the signs are there that things could get better.
So, could Mourinho look at the option of starting Falcao ahead of Costa? It will give the former a great boost in confidence, and also show the latter that he is not expendable. Costa clearly needs a kick up his backside to get his game back together, and a couple of games on the bench may do him good.
The international break has come at the right time, as it has given us the time to regroup and reflect on the abysmal start to the season, which sees us at 13th place in the table with 4 points from 4 games. There could be some big changes when we play Everton next Saturday, with Mourinho facing dilemmas in defence, midfield and up front.
To conclude, it would be fair to say that Falcao has done enough to deserve a shot at the first-team, even though it remains to be seen whether he can perform while playing on his own. He is much shorter than Costa and hence not as good at holding up long balls, but his movement has looked sharp and he scored a truly fantastic goal in his last game.
At the moment, we don’t have much to lose. If it doesn’t work, we can always go back to Costa. If the Falcao of old does return, though, we could have an absolute superstar on our hands.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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