Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas Give Chelsea the Edge in Comfortable Vitesse Win

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Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas Give Chelsea the Edge in Comfortable Vitesse Win
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Had Jose Mourinho been told ahead of Chelsea's visit to Vitesse Arnhem that Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa would be involved in all three of his team's goals—one grabbing two assists, the other scoring—he would have probably thought it would be the latter on the scoresheet.

In fact, we all would.

It was the opposite: Fabregas scored his first Chelsea goal on Wednesday, while Costa earned himself two assists after setting up Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic for simple tap-ins as the Blues recorded a 3-1 victory.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Fabregas and Costa were the difference in Holland, giving us a sample of what we can expect when the Premier League campaign gets up and running in the next couple of weeks.

They gave Chelsea the edge, and it bodes well.

What was so impressive about seeing the pair in action was their ability to impact the game around them, making everything count.

Costa, for instance, looked every bit the £32 million striker, and while he may not have scored, Mourinho will be thrilled with how he continues to progress since arriving from Atletico Madrid.

The Spaniard is the 20-goal-a-season striker the Blues manager craved last season, yet he brings plenty more.

His assists being a fine example.

When Salah put Chelsea ahead in the fifth minute, it was a goal that owed much to the Egyptian's determination to get forward, overlap his teammate and give him the option to square a pass when bearing down own goal.

Costa's movement had seen him break free on the halfway line, putting him one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Where most strikers would ruthlessly take a shot, however, he opted for the better option to set up Salah, who had an empty goal to guide his shot into.

Costa did the same for Matic late on when Chelsea scored in almost identical circumstances. The striker broke the defensive line, had the opportunity to shoot when one-on-one, but he picked out his teammate, who was better positioned.

Both goals were scored because of Costa's ability to create something from nothing, yet despite the opportunity coming from his endeavors, he took an assist as his reward rather than the glory of a goal.

It's something that wasn't lost on his manager, either, as Mourinho explained to the Chelsea website after the game:

Last season, for Chelsea to score goals we have to play very good football. In some matches and some moments we were not playing at the top of our game so it was difficult to score goals. You could see today our third goal came at a moment when the team were not playing well. Vitesse were on top. We recovered the ball, one pass and Diego created the situation. When you have this kind of player it’s important because you can score out of context.

Costa even won the free-kick from which Fabregas scored, being hacked down from behind as the Vitesse defence panicked on the edge of their penalty box.

A better goalkeeper may well have saved Fabregas' effort, but that will worry him none. He's up and running as a Chelsea player now, although goal or not, his influence would have been clear.

Mourinho has dabbled with a 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 since Fabregas reported for training last week. If he opts for the former, it seems the ex-Barcelona man will play in the pivot alongside Matic, taking up a more traditional central midfield role in the latter.

What Fabregas' signing has done is given Mourinho options he didn't have last season. Chelsea's squad dictated the 4-2-3-1 formation would be their strongest, but that isn't the case any longer.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Now the manager can be flexible, deploying two attacking midfielders in support of the lone striker or keeping his three that we saw so often last term.

Either way, Fabregas will the focal point of it all. His ability to change games, link up play and make things happen is as vital as it impressive to watch.

He hasn't even completed a whole game yet, though, Fabregas has added a fluidity to Chelsea that has been missing.

Add Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle into the mix and we can begin to understand why Mourinho is looking so confident going into 2014/15.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes

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