Since Diego Costa’s arrival in England we’ve already seen the good, the bad and the ugly from the Spanish international. The charismatic striker has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons as much as the right at Chelsea – but is his bad boy reputation starting to tarnish his outstanding ability?
When Costa made the move from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea in the summer, everyone knew just how good a player Jose Mourinho had captured, but what people may not have been too aware of is his temper on the field. Strikers as good as Costa are most commonly known for sticking the ball in the back of the net, but in Costa’s case, he probably has more baggage than what Mourinho would have bargained for.
Since arriving at Stamford Bridge, the Brazilian-born star has netted an incredible 17 times in just 19 Premier League games. But in those 19 games, Costa has also received seven yellow cards which had already resulted in him receiving a one-match ban – the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in early-December. The 26-year-old is also in the process of serving a three-game ban for his stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can in the second-leg of the League Cup Semi-Final.
After the infamous stamp on Can, Costa told the Sunday Telegraph: “As far as what happened on Tuesday, the main thing is when I get home I can go home and I can go to sleep knowing that I’ve not done anything wrong, because I never meant to do that and it was not on purpose.
“And you can clearly see that on the video. But it is a suspension. I have to accept that, I have to take it. Obviously I feel sad because I’m not going to be able to help the team, to play. But I have to accept it and respect it.”
Although the Chelsea striker accepted the ban, he admitted that it’s the way he plays football and he has no plans to change that, adding: “I’m not saying I’m an angel. I’m no angel. You can see that. But every time I play I will play the same way because that’s the way I am.
“That’s what I need to do in order to support my family. On the pitch I will always be like that. That’s my character and I will always compete and compete – always. I’m a different guy off the pitch, as you can see, but on the pitch I will not change.”
On the field, despite costing the Blues £32m for his services, Costa has been a priceless addition to Jose’s first-team. His powerful, dominant and devastating displays have not only terrified defences, they have lit up the Premier League. The goal machine has taken to the English top flight like a duck to water and he’s a privilege to watch at times.
Costa’s 17 league strikes for Chelsea have helped the west London club move toward, and stay at, the summit of the Premier League table. Despite the forward’s absence in the 1-1 home draw with Manchester City on Saturday, there was no real damage done as Loic Remy deputised and proved he’s more than capable of filling Costa’s boots when the Brazilian is not available – by scoring the Blues’ only goal of the game.
Mourinho’s side sit pretty at the top of the Premier League table – still five points clear of their title rivals City. If Costa can somewhat get his act together and start hitting the headlines for the right reasons again, then it’s going to take something quite extraordinary to knock the Blues off their perch.