In Diego Costa, Chelsea possesses one of the most ruthless and dogged strikers in world football and he is a lethal asset to the club. The Spaniard has been especially potent amidst the Blues’ impressive recent upsurge.
With five goals in his last eight games and a glimmering record under Guus Hiddink, Costa has never been so important to the Stamford Bridge side.
However, with the club’s other strikers struggling to emulate the Spaniard’s form when called upon, Chelsea face becoming over-reliant on the forward. Whoever inherits the role of manager at the club next season will certainly need to find a backup striker who can relieve Costa of the burden.
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With Loic Remy, Alexandre Pato and Radamel Falcao, the club certainly isn’t short of alternative forwards. The trio possesses just two Premier League goals between them this season, though - a very poor return.
As a result, when Costa has been suspended or injured, Chelsea haven’t been able to call upon a forward with a goal record vaguely like that of the Spaniard’s.
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Such an over-reliance on Costa in the forward position has been shown by the fact, in his absence, Chelsea often call upon Eden Hazard as part of a false nine as opposed to one of their alternative strikers.
Going into this week’s home tie against West Ham, Chelsea’s recent showings sees them as solid competition. The Blues have won their last three league games and are showing glimmers of their 2014-15 form.
Hiddink's side fell short to Everton in the FA Cup, though. Costa was at the centre of attention again after being sent off due to an altercation with Gareth Barry which felt slightly reminiscent of Luis Suarez and Branislav Ibrahimovic from 2013.
While the 2-0 defeat can far from be solely attributed to the Spaniard’s antics, it certainly played its part. However, unlike the Stoke tie which saw Bertrand Traore take control, no one was able to step up to the plate and the Blues lost their last chance of silverware. Such a young player can't regularly fill such big shoes.
Although nobody can ever truly replicate the hunger and ruthlessness of Costa, Chelsea should, at least, invest in a better number two than Falcao.
After all, if Chelsea continue to put all their eggs in one basket, their stagnant form may return as part of a vicious cycle. The ex-Atletico Madrid man can’t carry the goal-scoring burden all the time and with Hazard and co. still struggling to muster their fair share, the pressure is only intensifying.
While the current formula is undoubtedly working, Chelsea should be wary of becoming over-reliant on Diego Costa. Investing in a better back-up forward would prove vastly beneficial and provide the depth necessary to aid the Blues’ hunt for the 2016-17 Premier League title.
Who do you think Chelsea should sign as a back-up for Costa? Leave YOUR view in the comments box below.
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