Though Diego Costa featured in Chelsea’s opening day draw with Swansea, much has been made of the Spaniard’s suspect hamstrings as he embarks on his second season in England.
Clearly the club’s first choice striker, after a prolific debut campaign last year, his persistent injury problems forced the hitman to miss six weeks towards the end of last season.
Much has been made about the decision to bring Costa’s former Atletico Madrid team-mate Radamel Falcao to Stamford Bridge. While presumably as an under-study for Spain striker Costa, the Colombian’s form at Manchester United last year does little to ease Blues fans fears should their Number 19 fall foul to another spate of injuries.
Perhaps the man who levelled the scores at 2-2 on Saturday evening is the man Stamford Bridge boss Jose Mourinho should have targeted as a second-choice striker. French front-man Bafetimbi Gomis, known in some parts of the world as ‘Baby Drogba’, battled valiantly against a hard-nosed Chelsea back line.
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The former Lyon man first won the penalty that saw ‘keeper Thiabaut Courtois, and then coolly converted it past substitute Asmir Begovic.
Though nowhere near as prolific as Costa, the Swansea star would be excellent back-up. Should Falcao find his shooting boots, Mourinho has perhaps pulled off the greatest coup in Premier League history. But that is a huge if. Gomis provides many of the same qualities as the Spaniard, and is proven on these shores.
The comparisons to club icon Didier Drogba may not always be the most apt, but the bulking centre forward certainly makes himself a nuisance. With the Ivorian acting in a similar supplementary role last year, before moving to the MLS, perhaps Gomis could have offered the most natural of successions.
It is too early to judge the move for Falcao, if anyone can prize best from the fading star – it is Jose Mourinho. But against Swansea, Chelsea appeared to run out of ideas quickly.
The France international provides a physical presence the side will no doubt miss without their star Spaniard. Falcao may be a more stylish name, but represents a far bigger gamble. Going for Gomis would surely have made more sense.
It’s not only the performance against the champions that stands out. After struggling to displace Wilfried Bony as the spearhead of the Swans attack, the Ivory Coast international’s departure to the African Cup of Nations and later to Manchester City allowed Gomis a starting berth.
Two goals against Chelsea’s growing ever bitter London rivals Arsenal over the course of the season, along with a stunning brace against Hull City show the former Saint-Étienne star is more than just a target man.
As the West London side face an inquest over their squad this year, perhaps going for Gomis would have made far more sense than the floundering Falcao. A proven Premier League striker who could easily fit the mould at Stamford Bridge – choosing style over substance may well come back to bite the Blues.