This time last year Chelsea were running away with the league. They didn’t lose their first league match until December sixth and set the tone for an utterly dominant season atop the Premier League. A lot of this dominance were due to the contributions of their two big Spanish signings in Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. Fabregas was putting chances on a plate and Costa was putting them away with scary efficiency. 12 months on and the Chelsea machine is well and truly broken. The decline of Fabregas has been discussed tirelessly, but Costa has dropped off just as much.
At this time last year Costa had racked up 11 league goals and was the darling of the Chelsea faithful. After years of strikers failing to live up to their billing this one finally had. A year later, he has only three league goals and his on pitch antics have caused some Chelsea fans to become frustrated with him. After Jose Mourinho dropped him last weekend, Costa had a bit of a fit on the bench, refusing to warm up in the second half and throwing his training bib in the direction of Mourinho. Now there are rumors that the 27 year old could leave Chelsea, either in January or more likely in the summer. So how has he gone from Chelsea’s new Drogba to having one foot out the exit door in only a years time?
It’s less than halfway through the season, but so far Costa’s shot numbers have fallen off a cliff from his last two seasons. He is taking one fewer shot overall and one fewer shot inside the box per 90 minutes than he did in the past two years. He’s not just been unlucky running into keepers that are on fire, he’s been getting in positions to shoot less often than he has in the past. His service hasn’t been as good this season, but a drop off like that is a sign of decline. Obviously it’s too early to say Costa’s in decline, you need multiple years of decline to say that not 11 games, but it’s not a good sign. His shot accuracy is also it’s lowest in the last three seasons.
Costa’s attitude has seen him get suspended multiple times in the last nine months or so, which has cost Chelsea points and frustrated some of the fans. The Brazilian born striker has always had a fiery temper. He always toed the line, making sure to give himself a competitive edge without going too far too often. In the last nine months or so, he seems to have crossed that line, bought property, and started a housing development there. He has had multiple retrospective bans for violent conduct and there are some matches where he looks more interested in fighting with his opponent than trying to score on his opponent. It is true that his behaviour is probably more scrutinized than anyone else in the league because of his reputation, but he just keeps giving them reasons to ban him.
On top of the sub par numbers and the disciplinary problems, Costa came into preseason unfit and overweight, just another thing to frustrate both his employers and supporters. His fall has been as mystifying as all the other Chelsea players, but it looks like his fall could cost him his Chelsea career if he doesn’t pick it up soon.