Upon battling to a hard-earned, gritty 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane last weekend, Chelsea’s season seems to be on the road to recovery. However, amidst all the promising signs, the immature actions of Diego Costa once again shrouded the Blues in negative press. Then, yesterday happened.
Even when Chelsea blitzed their way to the Premier League title last season, there were signs that the erratic nature of their Spanish forward could land them in trouble. Despite this, Costa’s early-season avalanche of goals saw the spotlight placed on his finishing as opposed to his questionable temperament.
Comparatively this campaign, with the goals absent from the 27-year-old’s game, the attention has turned to his destructive influence on the Chelsea squad.
Article continues below
With Jose Mourinho’s men treading water in fourteenth place, the last thing the team needs is the persistent controversy that orbits Diego Costa.
The Spaniard’s supply of goal scoring chances has been emaciated this season and as a result, he has been reduced to a bully; fighting unwinnable battles in the opposition's final third.
Article continues below
In fact, his rife frustrations finely demonstrates the declining aura around Costa that had made him such a frightening prospect during 2014-15. No longer are defenders scared of the ex-Atletico Madrid man as they know it is so simplistic to wind him up to an extent where he becomes hell-bent on making a scene.
The embarrassing incident with the steward at Stoke, albeit minor, shows how people are so keen to infuriate the Spaniard. As opposed to transpiring his anger into gritty goal scoring, Costa has been lashing the ball into the rafters and hacking carelessly at defenders.
There is little doubt that Diego Costa is a superb striker. After all, the 27-year-old scored 57 times in the two seasons before this year, an outrageous goal scoring return.
However, once placed in a team so starved of confidence and attacking flair, Costa has been reduced to a spectator in recent fixtures.
Dropping the striker has been long overdue. It’s no coincidence that arguably Chelsea’s best performance of the season came alongside Mourinho leaving Costa out of the starting XI. In fact, it was the first time the Portuguese tactician has done so in the league when Costa has been available.
Eden Hazard has been in horrendous form this season, yet the dropping of Costa allowed the Belgian to slip into the striking position and execute his best showing this term.
Mourinho’s admirable boldness to finally leave out Costa opened the door for his side to flourish against tough opposition.
Chelsea’s superb performance cannot be solely credited to this slight tactical alteration but it certainly gave the side a leg-up to a fine draw. The Blues no longer had their anarchic forward causing mayhem up front and could subsequently reapply the impetus to their slick midfield.
Furthermore, the bib incident that sprouted from Costa’s dropping has reaffirmed this immature nature of the Spaniard. The 27-year-old forward should in fact be thankful that his manager persisted with him for so long; his blinded sense of entitlement is negative to Chelsea.
When a club is plunged in such despair, the manager needs to apply his authority and it seems that only now has Mourinho taken steps to ensure he is no longer a pawn in this turmoil.
Recent reports have trumpeted the hugs and cuddles between Mourinho and Costa, but the bib-throwing antics suggests a feud is engulfing the pair.
If such a chasm between the duo continues to widen, then one must leave or the negative atmosphere plaguing Stamford Bridge won’t be leaving in a hurry.
The fact that Roman Abramovich has shown such faith to Mourinho, despite the mid-table dwellings, suggests the Russian’s allegiance is firmly with his manager. As a result, if ‘The Special One’ continues to be disappointed with Costa then the Spaniard may be shown the exit.
Mourinho is a superb manager but even his expertise are being truly challenged in the dire straits Chelsea find themselves in. The weekend has shown that Costa being dropped is far from depriving the team and if the brutish forward continues to drench the Blues in negative press then why should the Spaniard remain at the club?
Granted he is a fantastic player and has the ability to score 20 goals every season for Chelsea, but when such radical change is needed at Stamford Bridge, the last thing wanted is a player slouching around and bludgeoning defenders.
Regardless of football talent, when a player is proving so detrimental to your club then a line has to be drawn. After all, Mourinho shouldn’t harbour a forward showing such blatant disregard for his team mates and his professionalism as a whole.