Chelsea host Manchester City today in what is surely going to be a crucial clash in determining where the league title is destined for. Rob Lyons questions if Diego Costa’s suspension could be a significant factor in where the Premier League trophy ends up come May.
A marmite player if there ever was one, Chelsea’s Diego Costa is loved and adored by the Chelsea faithful, however outside of the confounds of Stamford Bridge the public love/hate mood towards to striker is somewhat split.
There is a definite dilemma with Costa. In the first instance one must fawn at the goalscoring talents of the Spanish international but there is also the nasty side to his game, which has most recently seen him suspended for the next three games, having been found guilty by the Football Association for a stamp on Liverpool’s Emre Can in the Blues’ most recent encounter.
Costa will now miss games against Aston Villa, Everton and most crucially this evening against their main rivals for the Premier League title Manchester City.
Suspensions are tough to take at the best of times, but what Costa has done, even if he denies any wrongdoing in the aforementioned Can incident, is give an Independent Regulatory Committee the opportunity to find something wrong with what he did.
Jose Mourinho was angered by comments from certain TV pundits after the Liverpool game due to what he believed were unfair comments about his striker.
There may well be some which are unfairly treating the player but this writer believes Mourinho should focus on the player himself and not the media attention surrounding him.
Since coming to the Premier League there has been a number of incidents which have put Costa in the spotlight, notably the latest incident against Liverpool as well conflicts with Seamus Coleman and Tim Howard when facing Everton earlier in the season.
Two stats stand out when it comes to Costa. Firstly that he has scored most of Chelea’s goals with 17 already this season but he also has been yellow carded the most times, along with Cesc Fabregas, with eight.
Proof that he is a crucial feature in Chelsea’s Premier League title push when it comes to goalscoring but also that he is hot-headed in certain situations.
Today’s match-up is a pivotal game in whether the title will be staying in Manchester or heading to London and the negative mindset, which is a part of Costa’s game must be eradicated if the Blues want to make the most of his talents in the long-term.
There is no better manager to tame any misdemeanours from the 26-year-old but after today, if Chelsea fail to fire in front of goal, we may be left wondering what could have been had Costa not been suspended for a pivotal clash with the champions.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena
Featured image By Ben Sutherland from Crystal Palace, London, UK (DSC01448) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons