Don’t panic: Why despite his Spain shocker, Diego Costa won’t be a flop at Chelsea

Diego Costa
I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of Diego Costa, nor am I hugely keen on writing articles in the first person, however, for one time only, I will venture outside my comfort zone – as the Chelsea bound striker was forced to do for Spain.
In fact not only was Costa out of his comfort zone on Wednesday night as Spain slipped out of the World Cup after their 2-0 defeat to Chile, but so too were his team-mates as they uncharacteristically knocked long balls to the Brazilian born forward.
La Roja sent 52 long balls forward – 34 of which were successful – as they looked to adapt to the inclusion of the 25-year-old who spurned the chance to play for Brazil.
 Spain Long Passes Against Chile
It didn’t suit them and it didn’t suit him.
Some of the work in Costa’s impressive season at Atletico Madrid did involve being a cart-horse at times, but that was far from what alerted Jose Mourinho to his talents. He worked well in an attacking unit, alongside David Villa, Koke and Arda Turan, who could attack incisively and dangerously.
Additionally, some of his best work came from picking the ball up deep, bamboozling through teams and taking defenders out the game as they clinged to him like metal to a magnet.
With wizards like Andres Iniesta and David Silva in the Spanish side, this was never really an option for Costa in Brazil.
Diego Costa Duels Won During The World Cup
And while these are all contributing factors to the abuse Costa, at least on social networks, will receive for his performances at the World Cup, perhaps the overriding one is that he was probably never even fully fit – why else would he only have won 30 percent of his duels in the defeats to Holland and Chile?
Costa finished the domestic season with Atletico injured, hobbling off in the first half of matches for the league, against Barcelona, and the Champions League, against Real Madrid.
A feature of Diego Simeone’s side is their ability to press opposition, to defend from the front if you will. Costa’s role in that is key. Throughout the la Liga season he went up for 169 headers, crunched into 44 tackles and attempted 167 dribbles.
Diego Costa Duels Won For At. Madrid
For la Roja he won none of the four headers he went in for, was unsuccessful in his one attempt at a tackle and completed one of the two dribbles he embarked on. The question isn’t why his execution so low though, it’s why was he holding back from getting involved?
They tactics may have counted against him slightly, but it seems obvious he was playing with a fear of reigniting the injury which has hampered him recently.
That said, the facets of his game which I do have doubts over – first person again, sorry – was also worryingly present at the World Cup. He did manage to work a couple of openings to shoot, but his finishing was all too familiarly wayward – none of his shots were on target.
Considering he scored 27 league goals last season, it’s a strange complaint to make, but I wouldn’t want Costa going through one-on-one if my mortgage depended on it*.
What I’m saying is Chelsea fans needn’t be concerned. The bruising nature and attitude of Costa should ensure he fits into a Jose Mourinho side which requires a striker to lead from the front. He’ll almost certainly be an upgrade on the current crop, not that it will be hard.
And who am I to tell him he can’t finish?
*Of course I don’t have a mortgage


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