Can Chelsea's Diego Costa continue his excellent scoring run against Swansea?
Chelsea face a trip to Swansea City as they attempt to maintain their 100% record under new manager Antonio Conte. The change has revitalised the squad and they once again look like a team that can challenge for the title. Their defence isn’t as strong as they would like, having missed out on their priority targets during the summer. In attack, both Eden Hazard and Diego Costa look back to their best, which is encouraging for the campaign ahead. The latter enjoys playing against Swansea and could be crucial this weekend.
The Spanish international has scored more Premier League goals against the Swans than any other opponent he has faced (5). This will provide the striker with confidence ahead of Saturday’s match and that edge can have a telling effect. He will be looking to take shots on at every opportunity and will be a threat at all times. The former Atletico Madrid player is aggressive on the pitch, but when this is coupled with confidence, he is at his most dangerous. That will be the case at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
On the other hand, the home side will fear Costa due to his excellent record against them. This could cause nerves in the back four and lead to mistakes. They could also pay too much attention to the Brazilian-born striker, leaving space for the likes of Eden Hazard or Michy Batshuayi to exploit. Francesco Guidolin’s men haven’t had a great start to the season and Costa could be in for another great day in South Wales.
The 27-year-old is also playing well against the other sides in the league. He has either scored or assisted in his last five Premier League matches and will be keen to extend that run of form this weekend. Although he had problems at the beginning of last season under Jose Mourinho, the former Atletico Madrid forward looks back to his best and is showing the consistency that he displayed during his first season in England. He was a major part of their title success of 2014/15 and at the time, it looked like Chelsea had finally found a striker capable of replacing Didier Drogba.
His struggles last season can be attributed to his poor relationship with his former manager and his attitude problems. Costa is a player that needs to feel loved by his coach in order to play his best football. If the player-coach relationship breaks down, the striker struggles to motivate himself and opts to play up on the pitch instead. There were doubts about how he and Conte would get on as they are both fiery characters, but it looks to be a perfect match so far. Costa has scored two winners during the opening three matches and is using his aggression on the pitch in the right way again.
During the off-season, there was talk that Chelsea’s number 19 was keen on a move back to Atletico Madrid and wanted to work under Diego Simeone again. This never materialised and the Blues look to be benefiting from the decision to keep him at the club. Although they have signed Michy Batshuayi, the Belgian isn’t ready to be the first choice striker at a club like Chelsea.
Diego Costa is in tremendous form and is an early contender for the golden boot. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sergio Aguero are the frontrunners to finish the season as the league’s top scorer, but Costa can push them all the way if he is motivated. The first three matches suggest he is and I would expect him to continue his excellent scoring run against Swansea. The Welsh club have looked vulnerable at the back and Chelsea’s premier striker is on fire.
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