Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho must take the blame for Diego Costa’s early-season goal drought, with the Spaniard now back to his best under Guus Hiddink.
Costa, who scored the winner as the Blues beat Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon, has put his difficulties behind him to re-establish himself as one of the best forwards in the top flight.
And Mourinho, who was axed by Roman Abramovich last month, must accept he is to blame given the way his former talisman has blossomed under his successor.
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Chelsea usually beat Arsenal but Costa’s snarling, bullish attitude has given the fixture an added edge in the past couple of seasons.
The 27-year-old has scored against Wenger’s men in three of his four appearances, with the winner on Sunday denting the Gunners hopes of winning a first Premier League title since 2004.
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Per Mertesacker was dismissed for cynically chopping down Costa, with the German international’s dismissal coming four months after Gabriel was sent off for clashing with the Chelsea striker.
Like the departed Didier Drogba, Costa seems to relish playing against the Gunners and his ability to continually score against the Blues’ fiercest rivals suggests he could one day replicate the success of his old teammate.
Mourinho may have guided Chelsea to the league title last season, but from the start of this campaign he looked a man on the edge and he was axed in December with the club hovering just one point above the relegation zone.
There were continuous rumours that Costa had clashed with the Portuguese, having infamously thrown a bib in Mourinho’s direction during a tame goalless draw at White Hart Lane.
The striker was not the only player to have reportedly turned against his manager. Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard were both sensational last year, but let Mourinho down badly as the time ticked down to an inevitable parting of the ways.
Hiddink has only been hired for the short term, but the way he has rejuvenated Costa since his arrival has increased the optimism growing at Stamford Bridge.
The way Fabregas has also improved means the Dutchman must take the credit, though the 69-year-old will be hoping Hazard can conjure up some of the moments that made him one of the best players in the world.
Costa has been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid, but now they have received their transfer ban, that is something that won't be happening anytime soon.
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