It’s hard to imagine that Chelsea made it through a campaign with the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres, and Demba Ba as strikers. Given their third place finish and Champions League semifinal appearance however, it could have gone worse.
Eto’o was on the wrong side of 30, showing his age and consistently frustrating fans in front of goal.
Torres’s Chelsea legacy speaks for itself. While always working hard, he failed to ever live up to his £50 million price tag.
And Demba Ba was a confusing signing to me overall. While being a good striker, he was never consistently Chelsea quality in my opinion. There were a few moments of brilliance, but nothing too substantial.
Fast forward to the 2014-2015 season. Chelsea had the likes of Diego Costa, Loic Remy, and club legend Didier Drogba. What a difference a year makes.
Chelsea had struggled to score goals in Mourinho’s first season. They relied on their defense to keep them in matches, and ultimately their lack of production did them in. This was not the case in 2014-2015.
Chelsea got off to a glamorous start last campaign, scoring freely, and being creatively imposing. New man Diego Costa started scoring for fun, getting off to one of the best starts in the Premier League. While Loic Remy and Didier Drogba performed honorably when called upon, when Costa was healthy, it was his position.
But that’s the major issue right there. When he stays healthy. Costa was one of Chelsea’s best players last season, providing Chelsea just what they needed, a target man. But his ability to stay healthy was the major object of worry for Mourinho, with Costa missing several major games.
So if he is able to remain healthy for this upcoming campaign, how good can he really be?
Costa is the perfect striker for Mourinho. He represents exactly the ideals that the manager plays with and seeks to instill in his players. Costa bullies defenders into his mind games. He almost always gains the upper hand in the mental battle, while physically, Costa is a presence to be reckoned with.
While he’s large enough to hold the ball up and act as a target man, the striker is equally as strong in creating his own opportunities. Several times he will receive a pass and turn to take on a defender. This makes him so dangerous. He is well-versed in scoring goals, and his confidence on the ball is evident.
As a talisman, he’s an example of how to play. Costa wants to score every time he gets the ball. He is constantly putting himself in positions to get a shot off. Furthermore, when opportunities are carved out by his teammates, he makes no mistake about finishing them off.
He’s clinical directly in front of goal, while also exemplifying what it takes to be composed on breakaways and close range chances. Costa is emphatic, and quite frankly one of the best strikers in the game.
So if he remains healthy, how good can the Spaniard be this season?
He can absolutely be the best striker in the Barclay’s Premier League, and maybe even the best in the world. That’s how good Costa is. He’s clinical on his own, and with the distribution he’ll receive from the likes of Hazard, Fabregas and Oscar, there is no doubt he’ll be able to score freely next campaign. He will definitely be intertwined in drama, but that’s his style. He’ll get under the skin of everyone who’s not a Chelsea supporter. And that’s why he’s that much more appealing. He winds up other fans and players, while scoring goals with ease. What else would you want in a forward?
With all of this being said, it all lends to Costa remaining healthy. If he’s able to maintain his fitness, then the sky’s the limit for the 26-year-old. He’ll have to be rotated with Falcao and Remy or whoever else Chelsea choose to incorporate into the side.
However, should Costa get a good run of games, they’ll be no stopping him. Look for the Spaniard to have a breakout season, possibly making him a Ballon d’Or candidate. He’s that brilliant.