Diego Costa or Radamel Falcao, who is the better striker?
25-year-old Costa and 28-year-old Falcao were brought to the Premier League in the summer from Spanish champions Atletico Madrid and French outfit AS Monaco respectively.
Diego Costa was brought into a Chelsea side who finished third last year due to their lack of firepower upfront, not because of any incapabilities defensively.
Meanwhile, Radamel Falcao was signed by Louis Van Gaal for a Manchester United team who, under David Moyes at the time, finished a dismal seventh last year, a season after the Red Devil’s won their thirteenth Barclays Premier League title.
Both team’s are expected to be fighting to be crowned England’s best football club and both sides needed to bring in a high profile striker to do so, which, unsurprisingly, both did.
So the question is, who is the better striker? The bullying, aggressive Diego Costa or the clinical Colombian Radamel Falcao? Let’s put them both through numerous questions;
Who is the better goalscorer?
The most basic of questions for any striker, the hardest thing to do on the pitch is put the ball in the back of the net, both strikers are more than capable of doing this regularly, but who will score the most goals?
Well, Diego Costa led his former side Atletico Madrid to the Spanish title and the Champions League final, scoring 35 goals in all competitions last season.
After just one season, many pondered whether he would adapt to the English game or if he was destined for the striker’s curse at Chelsea.
He has answered those questions already this season, scoring 7 goals in 4 games for the 2012 Champions League winners.
Radamel Falcao was brought to Old Trafford on deadline day and has not yet been given time to prove himself due to the international break.
If he can keep up his goalscoring record that he has accumulated since 2009 though, then Manchester United fans are in for a treat this season.
Since 2009-10, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao has scored a mind blowing 104 goals in 139 appearances for Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco combined.
Given that Costa has only really had one consistent goalscoring season and looking at Falcao’s record, it is hard to argue that the latter wins this one hands down.
Who offers more to a team?
While Falcao is a force to be reckoned with in front of goal, what he fails to offer is any willingness to drop deep and help link up the play, his country, Colombia, found it merely impossible to play him as the lone striker until the inclusion of James Rodriguez, who would play in behind Falcao, meaning the striker would not have to drop deep in order to receive the ball.
The 28 year old is a real threat from set pieces which any team would find useful, Falcao possesses a huge leap and his ability in the air is a contributing factor to his impressive goalscoring record, he is so difficult to mark.
The Monaco man on loan to United is, and it is not necessarily a bad thing, nothing but a goalscorer. He will not track back and help out his midfielder’s and is unwilling to receive the ball from deep. Falcao will need good delivery, particularly from the flanks, and if he gets it, expect to see goals.
Diego Costa offers much more than Falcao in terms of build up play. The Spanish international is a willing runner and has no problem providing an extra number to the midfield if needed.
The 25 year old is also more competent at picking the ball up from deep than Falcao. Technically assured, Costa can dribble pass one, two even three men to present himself an opportunity to shoot or lay the ball off.
He is also a physical presence. Costa has the strength required to hold the ball up to give time for his team mates, particularly wingers in Chelsea’s case, to overlap and create options.
Diego Costa undoubtedly wins this duel. Unlike his counterpart, Falcao, Costa gives his side an added dimension with his passing, physical presence to hold the ball up and his ability to beat opposition defenders to create chances for himself. While Falcao relies heavily on those around him, Costa is more of an individual in the sense he can make things happen for himself and team mates.
Will both stay fit for the majority of the season?
While both are world class phenomenons, both also struggle with persistent injuries. A worry for both sides’ managers’ who need their star men.
Costa has had problems with his hamstrings for a while, arguably due to Atletico’s reliance on him last season, playing him in the Champions League final when he was clearly unfit, and the added World Cup fixtures with Spain would not have helped matters too much, either.
While Costa underperformed at the World Cup, possibly because he was not entirely recovered, Falcao missed the tournament in Brazil entirely.
The Colombian international damaged his knee in January earlier this year and was not able to recover in time for the biggest tournament in world football.
Questions remain as to whether he has fully recovered eight months after it happened, and, although Falcao himself has declared himself 100% fit, it is unlikely Louis Van Gaal will rush him into regular first team football at United.
It can not be guaranteed that either of these strikers will remain fit for their sides campaign, both injuries can be a re occurring nightmare for any athlete. Neither win’s this battle, with both a liability with their respective injuries.
Which side got the better deal?
Diego Costa knocked Chelsea back £32 million for his services, and, while that may seem a hefty price tag for a striker who has had one good season, it can be considered a bargain, for Chelsea, at least.
All of last season Mourinho lacked a 20 goal a season striker, choosing between veteran Samuel Eto’o, former Newcastle man Demba Ba and £50 million flop Fernando Torres.
Chelsea now have the firepower upfront to win games, and Costa is the focal point of that attack. While the likes of Fabregas and Hazard may pop up with a few goals this season, Costa is the one winning games.
Falcao was brought in to Old Trafford on a season long loan with an option to buy permanently for £43 million at the expiration of his loan deal, should he impress.
I have already spoke of how little Falcao will offer in terms of approach play, but, with all the creative players around him at Manchester United in Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Angel Di Maria, for example, all Falcao has to do is what Falcao does best, score goals.
Diego Costa wins this one. £32 million for a striker who is three years younger than Manchester United’s number nine, offers more to a side and still scores goals albeit maybe not as many as the Colombian is a good deal. If Falcao hits top form though, make no mistake £43 million would be money well spent by United.
To sum up, both sides have got what they wanted and more importantly needed in the summer, and both managers can be happy with who they have upfront this season.
While Diego Costa is more of a complete player, creating opportunities for himself and others around him, he is not quite the goalscorer Falcao is.
Undoubtedly Diego Costa will continue to prove to be a massive hit at Stamford Bridge, and while he will still score 20+ goals a season, you can not argue with Radamel Falcao’s simply astonishing goalscoring record.