Chelsea produced one of the best 45 minutes of football in the second half in their comeback victory at the Etihad on Saturday lunchtime, but there was one man who stood out more than all the rest – Diego Costa. The 28-year-old bullied the Manchester City defence throughout and they just couldn’t handle his physicality, eventually leading to Costa scoring the equalising goal before setting up Willian to complete the comeback.
Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones were hassled from start to finish, most notably when Stones lost possession to the powerful centre forward in his own box in the first half as Costa made his statement clear; he wouldn’t let City have time on the ball to play it out from the back.
The Citizens were shaken, and were even more so when Cesc Fabregas launched the ball forwards to Costa, who took the ball down superbly before coolly slotting past Claudio Bravo. Some City fans appealed for handball but to do so would deny the exquisiteness of Costa’s control before he left Bravo with no chance.
Then, he performed a similar move to shrug off the attention of Otamendi to set up Willian to make it 2-1. With Fernando and Ilkay Gundogan dropping deep to support the City back three, not even five men could keep the determined Costa under control, and the way he barged them off with ease made it clear that there would only be one victor.
But the Spaniard is so much more than just attacking. Costa’s all round play was on show as he won his only tackle, made two ball recoveries and made four clearances as his team fought to defend their lead in the final stages. Costa kept his cool throughout and remained disciplined when his team most needed it.
After the poor form he showed signs of last year, it’s clear that the real Diego Costa is back and Antonio Conte is surely relieved that he did decide to cling on to his number 19 during the summer when Atletico Madrid came calling. If Costa can maintain this form and stay fit, he could be the man to fire them to the title for the second time.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Aneka News.