One of the main reasons why Chelsea came second-best to Manchester City in the League last time around was their lack of a proper strike force. All season long Jose Mourinho was moaning about the fact that they he didn’t have a “real striker” at his disposal. While that was certainly true, the fact that he didn’t sign a top-notch striker last summer itself said its own stories.
Many questioned why the Portuguese manager didn’t go all out and sign a centre forward. Mourinho’s recent comments certainly shed some light into that. After Diego Costa’s blistering start to the 2014/15 season that has seen him score seven goals in his first four League games, the Portuguese manager spoke about how “comfortable” the Spaniard was in the team.
Mourinho said: “The team was built in a way that we were waiting for a certain type of striker and I think now everybody knows that Chelsea did the right thing in waiting for him(Costa) and not going into the market in the summer of 2013 or January.”
His comments were all too obvious, ‘We waited for the right one’ he said. And that has certainly been true. With the addition of the 25-year-old Spanish international, the Blues finally have a focal point in attack. They have a striker who can score 20-25 goals a season and lead the line all on his own. Costa’s pace, power and physique means that Mourinho finally has a battering ram that he wanted all along.
His seven goals in his first four games, beat Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn’s record of six goals from the opening four games. The Spaniard has already scored more goals in the opening four games than what his compatriot Fernando Torres managed in the entirety of last year. Costa has entered the club’s record books as well by becoming the first player since John Meredith in 1928 to score for the club in his first four games.
With Costa, it isn’t just the goals, it is much more than that. His relationship with Fabregas is one that blossomed, with the Spaniard assisting in five of Costa’s seven goals. The duo are starting to develop an understanding the likes of which neither the club nor the League haven’t seen in the recent past. The most recent midfielder-striker partnership of note was the one that saw Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba score goals for fun and from the evidence of the first few performances, it looks the all-Spanish duo might go onto become even more successful than their predecessor.
For all his goals, arguably Costa’s biggest strength is his ability to hassle the opponents into making mistakes. The Spanish striker has already shown how good he is at closing defenders down and not giving them a moment on the ball and that is something the club have lacked since the departure of Drogba in 2012. The Spaniard has all the qualities that made Drogba successful in Mourinho’s first tenure with the club and given how much Mourinho loves Drogba, you can certainly see why he wanted Costa.
Another attribute of Costa, that can often be misunderstood is his aggressive streak. If there is one reason why he has been really successful in the past couple of seasons is because he finally has a coach who understands him and wants his side to play football the same way. If there is one thing that both Diego Simeone and Jose Mourinho have in common it is the fact that they want their players to give it their all on the football pitch. And that is something Costa does every time he does on the football pitch. Whether he scores goals or not, the Spaniard is like a general on a war field, who is ready to execute orders.
While Costa’s actions may not always be fair and in accordance with the rules of the game, he almost always gets under the skin of his opponents and that is a quality that very few are blessed. Costa is, in essence the perfect striker for Mourinho, but a pantomime villain for everyone else. As long as the Portuguese manager is at the helm, the Spaniard will flourish and while he may not break Dixie Dean’s record of 60 goals in a League season, he will certainly earn the adulation of the Blues faithful and maybe just maybe be another cult hero in the mould of Drogba.