Diego Costa Spearheads Uncharacteristic Chelsea in Thrilling Win Against Everton

Getty Images
Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2014

Start as you mean to go on, they say. Well, Chelsea did just that against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

A nine-goal thriller saw Jose Mourinho's side come out eventual 6-3 winners. The man they had to thank for it yet again was Diego Costa, who opened the scoring after just 35 seconds.

Three games into his Chelsea career and the Spaniard is firing, scoring twice against the Toffees to bring his tally for the season to four.

By contrast, it took Fernando Torres 39 games to reach the same figure in the Premier League for Chelsea. That should outline the ruthless edge Costa has added to the Blues' attack.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's sixth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on August 30, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Indeed, his display came at the ideal time for player and manager.

On the weekend Torres has departed Stamford Bridge for AC Milan, per BBC Sport, Costa went up against two former Chelsea strikers in Samuel Eto'o and Romelu Lukaku. Both were signed by Everton this summer after having been deemed surplus by Mourinho.

They had failed to convince in west London, so the duo were dealt the perfect opportunity to prove a considerable point against their former employers.

The headlines belong to Costa, though. He overshadowed everything the former Blues did; the Spaniard was clinical in front of goal and a creative outlet, and he even provided defensive cover at times.

Eto'o scored after coming off the bench in the 70th minute, although he contributed little outside of that.

Lukaku was the figure who attracted most attention. Though he is still learning his trade, the general consensus is the 21-year-old left Chelsea after refusing to play as back-up to Costa. He believes his time is now, that he is ready to be the best.

For anyone wondering why Mourinho never granted the Belgian's wish, they got their answer at Goodison. That wasn't lost on the Chelsea manager when he outlined the influence of Costa.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Diego Costa of Chelsea exchanges words with Romelu Lukaku of Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on August 30, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskil
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

"Diego had three chances and scored two goals. ... He's a good finisher," Mourinho said in his post-match interview on Sky Sports. "He doesn't have just that final touch; he participates in everything, even defensively. ... He's giving us what we expect from him."

What we didn't expect from Chelsea, however, was for the goals to rain in at the other end of the pitch.

Branislav Ivanovic doubled Chelsea's lead just two minutes after Costa's opener. From there, many expected the game was all but over, that Chelsea would ruthlessly close it out in the way only they can.

Credit to Everton for not allowing them to, as Roberto Martinez's side reacted well and controlled large parts of the match.

That said, despite a well-earned victory, it was an uncharacteristic showing from the Blues. Mourinho will be concerned with how charitable Chelsea were at the back.

"We tried to play with initiative, so we are a different team. ... But I don't want to be different by conceding goals," Mourinho said, again on Sky Sports.

It became a crazy pattern of you-score-we-score, with Everton fighting back every time Chelsea seemed to kill the game off.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Steven Naismith of Everton is challenged by Nemanja Matic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on August 30, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskil
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The big concern for Mourinho will be that his team lost the ability to control the game. The midfield was bypassed with alarming ease at times, and Steven Naismith remained elusive for much of the game, causing problems without ever being properly picked up.

That's a big problem if it's allowed to continue. Mourinho knows it, as does captain John Terry, although the latter did make an observation worth noting in his own interview with Sky Sports.

"The way we kept responding was excellent and something we didn't have last year," Terry said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's second goal with team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on August 30, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Phot
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Indeed, because of Costa, this Chelsea team has the look of one capable of outscoring opponents should the need arise.

When they traveled to Goodison Park at a similar stage last year, they controlled the game and dominated Everton. The scoreline was 1-0 to the home side, however, simply because Chelsea couldn't score goals. They lacked the ability to respond after going behind.

It wasn't a secret they struggled with that last season, yet as Terry observes, Chelsea now have the power and personnel to not only suffocate teams, but also to respond to the game around them in ways they couldn't previously.

They responded against Everton. In doing so, they responded perfectly to Manchester City's shock home defeat to Stoke City earlier in the afternoon. Just three games in, and they're cranking up the pressure.

This game was pure theatre, but Mourinho will demand more control in the future if Chelsea are to avoid the pitfalls City have already experienced.

Just a few days after the passing of Chelsea's honorary life president, Lord Richard Attenborough, Mourinho let his team have this one, though. It was a fitting tribute to the great man.

Were he watching, Dickie would have rejoiced in the drama of it all.


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

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices