At long last, Diego Costa seems to be back on form after his superb double against Watford typified the movement and grit that he showed so often throughout 2014-15.
After a season of controversy and sporadic goal scoring, the Spaniard resembled a different player in Chelsea’s battling 2-2 draw with Watford.
Whilst Costa remains far from his full potential, the improvements were clear for all to see. Besides, after such a rotten start to the campaign under Jose Mourinho, the only way is up for the ex-Atletico Madrid man alongside Guus Hiddink.
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Costa is famous for his ruthless and savage style of play. However, for seemingly the first time this season, the Spaniard channeled this into goal scoring and not bludgeoning defenders against Watford.
The seething aura that festers in the forward was transpired into gritty finishing. This was demonstrated by his opening goal; Costa was silencing a plethora of demons as he lashed the ball mercilessly past Heurelho Gomes.
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Whilst earlier this season he may have been found busy wrestling with a centre-back, he was focused on the ball and ensuring he diverted it into the net.
The goal was far from pretty, but Costa was on point and poaching the goals that Chelsea will require from him so desperately in the run-in.
Equally, for his second goal, Costa demonstrated a return to his game of composure and deftness.
Considering the 27-year-old has spent most of his season attempting to bulldoze the ball past the goalkeeper, a newfound calmness could be found in his game.
Upon being played through on goal by an immaculate Willian pass, Costa took a breath, chinked past Gomes and applied a calm finish. Earlier in the season, you have to wonder if that chance would have been thrashed into the rafters.
It’s hard to put a finger on what has triggered this new, fresh Diego Costa, but you can’t deny he appeared reborn against Watford.
Above all, however, the most prominent change displayed by the Spaniard was his movement. Costa was battling to find space in the penalty area and flinging himself at any slither of an opportunity.
Under Jose Mourinho, Costa could often be found fighting pointless battles on the by-line and often needlessly dragged out wide.
Clearly Hiddink’s tactical tweaks have seen Costa allowed to lurk in the penalty area and allow his wide men to do the dirty work on the flanks.
As a result, Costa was available for far more opportunities and proved a festering thorn in Watford’s side. It can be no surprise that this new freedom saw the Spaniard bag an impressive brace.
Furthermore, the 27-year-old could be seen trying to slip past defenders instead of grappling them to the ground. Costa demonstrated this weekend that his desire for goals can, in fact, take prevalence over his drive for a confrontation.
Overall, the Diego Costa that showed up to Chelsea’s clash with Watford was undoubtedly a refreshing sight. In the space of 90 minutes, we were reminded that the Spaniard is an incredible talent and has a future at Stamford Bridge.
Although only one impressive showing amongst a swamp of vile performances, its promising signs for Chelsea’s star forward.
Aside from bagging a brace, Blues fans were shown the Diego Costa that had galvanized their title charge just a year previously.
Via channeling his anger in an intelligent manner, regaining his composure and being handed more offensive liberty with the new manager, the forward looks set to thrive under Guus Hiddink.