Diego Costa will line up against Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night having failed to score in nearly nine hours of football. But none of the 42,000-strong crowd will be questioning his position in the starting XI, least of all Jose Mourinho.
The Special One has been very successful in his managerial career, winning the Champions League with two clubs and domestic titles in four countries. There aren't many who can boast a record as good as that.
But as Chelsea enter the latter stages of the season it seems odd that they have fallen away from Invincibles-elect to run-of-the-mill champions-elect. Only a disaster will keep them from winning the Premier League, but they won't break records doing it. The opening games of the season suggested they would be the best ever team in Premier League history, but now they won't even be Mourinho's best Chelsea team.
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That can be put in part attributed to the form of Diego Costa. The £150,000-a-week star had 14 Premier League goals by the time New Year's Day rolled around. He scored four in the first four games of 2015, but then they mysteriously dried up.
Put it down to back form or bad luck, Costa has certainly lost his early-season touch and, like Chelsea, won't get to the lofty heights that he set out for himself after such an impressive start to the campaign.
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But it is not Costa's fault, it's Mourinho's. The Portuguese is famously rigid when it comes to his team selection. The rotation policy is his past teams has been next to non-existent. For a player who is used to a midseason break, the policy has come at Costa's expense.
His 29 starts in all competitions compares to the seven made by Loic Remy and the ten made by Didier Drogba. All three arrived in the summer but Mourinho seemed to have little intention of using the latter paid unless deemed absolutely necessary. Even when it was claimed that Costa could barely trained, Costa was still the club's first choice.
"He is doing almost nothing," said Mourinho in September. "He’s just resting and recovering from the tight muscle he has every time he accumulates fatigue. I hope he goes home after this game and sleeps until tomorrow morning."
He started Chelsea's next three games after those comments, playing 258 minutes out of a possible 270. Costa's body would have been at breaking point by the time Christmas rolled around and Drogba and Remy were both ready in waiting to takeover, but Mourinho's inability to rotate his squad left him with no choice.
Time for the chop
Even now, when it is clear Costa is not providing the goods, his place in the team is without question. He has failed to score in any other contest than the league, but will start arguably their biggest game of the season.
He should be dropped, not for Chelsea's sake but for his own as well.
Is it time for Diego Costa to be dropped or is he still Chelsea's best option up front? Give us your views in the comments box below!
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