Diego Costa has been nothing short of impressive in the opening games of his Chelsea career. However, his obviously lack of discipline threatens to unravel his good work and could end up costing Chelsea the Premier League title.
The Brazilian-born striker arrived at Stamford Bridge for £32 million this summer with a reputation for both the spectacular and the controversial. He scored 36 goals for Atletico Madrid, helping them towards a La Liga title as well as a Champions League final.
Having scored seven goals in his opening five Premier League games, despite Jose Mourinho continuing to claim he has a hamstring injury, is incredibly impressive for a striker with no experience in the English game.
However, although Chelsea's rivals are rightfully fearing that Mourinho has found prolific goalscorer he was looking for, fans have also been treated the the dark side of Costa. The striker is not afraid of controversy and his incessant need to cause it may cost Mourinho and Chelsea dearly in what promises to be a tight title race.
Costa is not the refined package; neither in his football skills or his well-aged face. The 25-year-old, like many Brazilian stars, learned his trade on the streets of Brazil.
He did not enjoy the benefits of coaches or of role models. The street was a place to fight for victory and Costa himself has admitted his upbringing is a reason for his in-your-face approach.
"On the pitch I fought with everyone, I couldn't control myself. I insulted everyone, I had no respect for the opposition, I thought I had to kill them," he is quoted as saying on his time playing in Brazil.
After serving a four month ban for punching an opponent and threatening a referee, a 16-year-old Costa was offered the chance to move to Europe by his current agent Jorge Mendes.
The same man eventually brokered a deal to take him to Atletico Madrid where his meteoric rise was supercharged by the departure of Radamel Falcao. He became the star of the show at the Vicente Calderon, but Diego Simeone and Co. knew what risks came with Costa.
In just six full seasons in Spain with Albacete, Real Valladolid and Atletico, Costa picked up an incredible 67 yellow cards and five red cards. For a striker, who is not supposed to be charged with the task of tackling, it is an impressive if not incredible feat.
In the 2012/13 season, he picked up 12 yellow cards in just 24 starts. Last season, it was a reduces, but still noticeable, seven in 34.
It seems that Costa has not only been able to bring his goal scoring form to Stamford Bridge, but his attitude has come along for the ride as well. Costa has already picked up three yellow cards this season.
Had it been a different referee or even a different day, Costa could have easily seen red already. His reaction to a challenge from Pablo Zabaleta was verging on shameful. The grappled the Manchester City star's neck. It was only for a second but it should have been enough to see Mike Dean reach for his back pocket and issue a red rather than a yellow.
Zabaleta was sent off for his trouble, but later tweeted a telling snapshot of the incident. On this viewing, Costa was lucky to escape with just a yellow. Had he been sent off, the entire game would have changed, and he certainly would not have been able to play a key role in Andre Schurrle's goal.
Again, Costa caused a stir after gloating about Chelsea's goal in front of Everton star Seamus Coleman. The striker drew criticism from the usually calm Roberto Martinez, who insisted that the Chelsea striker would have to learn some respect if he was to succeed in England.
Martinez said: "There are certain foreign players who come to the Premier League who need to understand the ethics and the culture.
"The behaviour in the British game is unique.
"The last thing you want to see is disrespect from a player to another player and I am sure he will learn that very quickly.
"There is a real professionalism and respect in the league so you can understand why the players weren't happy with that, in the same way as trying to buy free-kicks with the way he plays."
Luis Suarez comparison
What many Chelsea fans will see in Costa is what Liverpool fans saw in Luis Suarez. He has unbelievable talent and a knack of irking rivals clubs and fans. For both these reasons, Costa will become a cult hero in west London. He will score more goals and he will cause more trouble.
His success in England depends on how much of each he causes. For Liverpool, Suarez was worth the trouble when he bit Branislav Ivanovic. They had to get back into the Champions League and Suarez had the talent to lead the line, dragging them up the table almost single handedly.
But the Uruguayan proved too hot to handle once Liverpool had achieved their aim. They cashed in and moved on after Suarez bit his third opponent in his career at the World Cup.
As Suarez inspired Liverpool to second place, Costa could easily win Chelsea the Premier League, but there is every chance he will cost them their chance as well.
The true Costa
Had he been sent off yesterday, Manchester City may well have gone on to win in what would have been a significant blow for their title chances. He got away with that one, but there are more big games on the horizon. Opponents have already marked Costa as an easy target; one they can push around and get a reaction out of.
Costa's inability to control himself on the pitch means his first red card is a matter of when rather than if. The real question is not whether he will get sent off but who he will get sent off against.
With only one season at the top and a poor disciplinary record, Chelsea fans should not forget how much of a gamble Costa was for Mourinho. He cost a significant amount of money and players like Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and Alexis Sanchez were all available for similar fees.
Costa owes Mourinho a lot for his faith. He could prove a bargain, but he could also prove to be just too hot headed for the Premier League. Only time will tell.
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