Chelsea's £32 million summer signing Diego Costa has set the bar high in the Premier League so far. Four goals in three games have seen him top the scoring charts, with two of those goals coming when he was supposedly injured. Jose Mourinho was particularly pleased with the striker after his brace against Everton, telling the official Chelsea website:
He produced a fantastic performance in every aspect. I remember in the first half he was tackling Coleman on the edge of our box. He recovered balls, he held the ball up, and he was aggressive. He came face to face with Howard three times and he scored two goals. Howard made a good save in the beginning of the second half. His movement, his quality – everything was really good…
The end of the story is that Diego is maybe the best player in the league in these first three matches.
Such high praise is to be expected from his manager, but it certainly seems as though Costa could make the difference for Chelsea this season.
The Blues missed out on the league title last season by four points, finishing third behind Manchester City and Liverpool. When you look at the statistics from all three clubs, it is a wonder that Chelsea did as well as they did.
Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko scored 20, 17 and 16 goals respectively for City, who scored 101 goals in total. Liverpool finished with the same number of goals as City and had the league’s top scorer in Luis Suarez on 31 goals, with Daniel Sturridge on 21.
Chelsea scored just 71 goals altogether. Their three strikers managed 19 between them, leaving the side reliant on Eden Hazard for goals.
Although the Belgian duly obliged, having your club's top scorer on a season total of 14 goals in the league is not going to win you titles. While the difference in the points totals was tiny, the gulf in goals scored was what did it for Chelsea.
Costa—who scored 27 times for Atletico Madrid in La Liga last season—looks to have changed that overnight.
With 35 games to go, he is over a third of the way to Hazard's total from last year. His confidence and aggression have seemed to spur on his team-mates too, with Andre Schurrle, Branislav Ivanovic and Hazard also scoring.
Costa’s arrival also acted as the final nail in the coffin for Fernando Torres’ Chelsea career. While Torres’ deal with AC Milan may only be a loan on paper, in reality it will allow him to see out the final two years on his contract away from Stamford Bridge. Torres had this to say about his departure, per SkySports:
Obviously I could see what the season at Chelsea was going to be. They signed a striker that was expecting to play and I need to have this feeling of being important. I want to thank my two English clubs, Liverpool for bringing me to the Premier League and Chelsea for the trophies I won. After all these years, however, I needed a change, something that would give me the desire to play, to feel important.
Costa does not need the same reassurances as Torres. Having grown up playing football on the streets of Brazil rather than in a club academy, his ferocious passion for the game and dedication to working hard is enough motivation for him to score. Torres’ departure will surely lighten the mood in the dressing room, with Mourinho now able to foster the same team spirit that he developed in his first spell in charge.
While Chelsea have strengthened the depth of their striker pol with the addition of Loic Remy, per the official Chelsea website, it is clear that they will be relying on Costa to carry them over the line this season. However, if his first few games are any indication, he appears more than capable of firing the Blues back to Premier League glory.
All statistics from WhoScored.com