Connect in the back of the net

Diego Costa has been handed a three match ban for slapping Laurent Koscielny in the face when Arsenal and Chelsea faced each other in last week’s Premier League clash.

The time has come to really assess Diego Costa and ask whether he is worth the hassle that he causes.

There is a common misconception about Diego Costa and about his style of play. Many see him as a target man, a player you can lump the ball forward too and who holds the ball up well. He is not that player.

He actually plays at his best when he is off the shoulder of the last man and is much happier in space than he is trying to weave his way through tight gaps.


Not in top form

So far this season Costa has not been on form. At the beginning of last season, he looked the real deal. He is far quicker than people give him credit for and makes very intelligent runs. His finishing was clinical from all areas of the pitch.

However, this season he looks far from clinical, often taking too many touches. He looks like he has lost a yard of pace and isn’t providing the clever runs that he did last season.

When on the ball, I am not sure he has actually got the better of a defender so far this season. The only time in which he has was in the Arsenal game.


Rightly banned

This brings us on to the talking point of Diego Costa. His physical, aggressive and often illegal antics on the field. He was rightly banned for his slap, bump and scratch and fouls on the Arsenal players that were originally unprovoked.

While he went unpunished during the game, you could see the effect it had on the Arsenal players. They wanted to tackle him hard, they wanted to dive in. It actually gave Costa freedom to move. So from this point of view you can see exactly why he plays the way he does.

Last season this allowed him to score so many goals, it meant that he changed the fortunes of Chelsea’s games on his own and it made him well loved by the Chelsea faithful.


Is he aggressive for a reason?

The problem is, I am not sure he is aggressive for this reason. I think he is just aggressive, and that is unacceptable. It is one thing to by physical, another to be sneaky but another thing entirely to be a downright bad person.

Costa is looking for a fight because he wants a fight and so he is in the wrong sport and no referee should have any time for him. Gary Neville wrote on Twitter that he shouldn’t have been handed the retrospective ban because it wasn’t that violent. But it was unprovoked and it was still an act of violence. It was unnecessary and shouldn’t in any way be defended.

In a slight contradiction to that last paragraph, one of Costa’s biggest problems is that he is not only trying to fight, but he is trying to get the other players in trouble.

He could be more likeable if he was simply in it for a scrap, but he is deliberately trying to ruin players games by using attributes outside of the football game.


Ban a blessing in disguise for Chelsea?

Right now, Costa is playing very poorly, that should be some consolation to his enemies and I think that his ban in a blessing in disguise for Chelsea as I think they could do better with out him, providing one of his replacements step up.

There is no question he is a top player when he is on his game and that seems to be why Mourinho blindly defends him. However, and I have not revealed this before, but I am a Chelsea supporter and I am sick of both of them and their actions.

It’s time Chelsea played like the best team in England and stopped playing the role of pantomime villain. If Costa can’t get on board, then he has to go.


This piece was first published at the excellent The Players Only Club here

Written by Jonny Troy

Follow Jonny on Twitter @Jonny_Troy

Check out his excellent football blog, where this piece was originally published: The Players Only Club

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