Diego Costa scored a goal and assisted another as he put in a match-winning performance against Hull City, as Chelsea beat the Tigers 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues were in desperate need of some points after some heavy defeats to rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, against a Hull team who were also looking to get their season back on track.
Antonio Conte’s team however were too strong as the match went on, and a commanding second half performance got them the three points, in part down to Costa’s strong performance.
The Spanish striker was inspiring from the word go, using his strength to keep hold of the ball and commit into challenges. He won 100% of his tackles, and for Chelsea’s first goal he was much stronger than the Hull defence who tried to win a 50/50 with Costa, before he then gave the ball to Willian to curl into the corner. His commitment and passion was never in doubt.
As the second half progressed, he was having plenty of joy. A through ball from N’Golo Kante saw Costa go around the keeper, but only hit the post. It only seemed a matter of time before he would get a goal, especially after the four shots he sent towards the Hull goal and the three chances he gave to his team-mates.
Finally, the striker got his goal and settled the game for Chelsea, with a lovely curling strike into the same corner as Willian’s goal. The 27-year-old has now scored six goals for his side this season, and is already looking a more much committed and concentrated player than the last.
Interestingly, it looked in this performance that Chelsea had their joy by forcing mistakes from their opponents and countering at pace. All of the Blues’ opportunities seem to come from the Hull midfield giving the ball away, and players such as Kante and Nemanja Matic punishing them with forward bursting runs into space before finding the lead-men. Potentially, this is a tactic that could be seen a lot more from a Conte side in the coming weeks.
Another interesting point from the game was the re-shuffle of defenders. The revival of Cesar Azpilicueta on the right-hand side allowed Marcos Alonso to head to his usual left-side position, albeit a bit further forward as Conte went with three at the back. It is too early to say that is how it will stay, but Alonso certainly put in an impressive enough performance to stay there in the next game. Victor Moses was also a new player to the starting-eleven, putting in an exciting performance as a right-winger.
Plenty of changes are in the works for a Chelsea side who will be encouraged at the response of their players to recent defeats and a new formation, in getting the three points against a committed Hull side.