Nowadays, the definition of a good striker has devolved into that of a playmaker who can finish of chances rather than an out right bully who can shatter and drag around the center back pairing with both physicality and highly intelligent movements in doing so combining with the attackers behind him.
A striker can be a playmaker all he wants but without the bullying phase , a parked bus will be intact. I reffer you to the case of luis suarez last week vs Chelsea, he moved around intelligently, combining with players but never really did leave the young center back tomas kalas's pockets to score. He was unlawfully detained in the young center back's pockets along side his fellow midfield threat, raheem sterling. I also refer to some of the playmakers who have been dubbed one of the greatest center fowards of this era, Cavani and lionel Messi. Excellent movement, great combination, excellent finishing but against an elite parked bus have been ineffective.
Physicality alone, can upset the whole structure of a parked bus. Look at the case of Demba Ba, a striker who has little to no link up play. He twiced saved us at the peak of crucial matches against teams who were hell bent on defending with goals that came as a result of him being able to hold of the center backs .
If physicality alone can do that, think of a striker who doesn't have only that attribute, but also good link-up play and technique. As a person who has watched most of his matches, diego costa possesses all those attributes and even more. A within-reach example will be the match we played against atletico in the second leg of the semi-final, not only did he completely unbalance the greatest center back pairing but it was his intelligent movement that caused their first goal.
Terry and Cahill had concentrated all their energy on marking him in order to limit his increasingly growing influence and as a result neglected Adrian who was standing free on the right. Time and again during his matches I have watched, he has a specific modus operandi, and that is weakening the back four. I'll go ahead and argue that the stability of the back four is absolutely crucial for a parked bus. Diego costa has mastered the art of significantly weakening this back four, you can almost see why a highly skilled tactician with great attention to detail such as mourinho will be interested in him.
At the games I watched, the common trend was identifying the most vulnerable hole in the back four and making either making intelligent runs for the through ball or dragging them wide. When necessary he also drops deep to hold up possession and has a keen eye to watch for runs, people might say he's not the Hollywood pass type but those are youtube watchers. Granted he doesn't make unnecessary passes or unnecessary 1-2 touches . The reason is simple, he doesn't need to most of the time, he can hold up the ball and power shots all on his own. When he does do them though , they are sublime, either in the box when linking up play or when dropping deep to make space for runners. He can also recieve balls on the wings and is capable of truely sublime crosses or linking up with full backs or with koke and arda .
He also possesses such an overwhelming stamina, it is almost gauranteed the center backs he bullies cannot keep up all match .Coupled with great strength, when he decides to shoot, your only option is to block rather than go shoulder to shoulder with him.
Also, unlike cavani or suarez, but like Ibrahimovic, if you give him the slightest running space he will severely punish you, either through a high-line (spurs i warn you) or through balls coming in from deep with the smallest angle.
He also possesses a finishing ability identical to that of Ronaldo's. Powerful angled shots from close and far ranges and can add the occasional spin when necessary. He also possesses the ability to finish from impossible angles, ( where he adds the spin).
Sometimes he can even run with the ball from the midfield dragging the center and the full backs and finish from an impossible angle. This was one of the reasons we parked the bus in the first leg because you simply cannot give him space. The full backs and center backs cannot keep up with him.I was surprised Cavani was given considerably more space than him at the return leg against Psg, but he was still completely ineffective against our fullbacks and center backs. Those spaces if given to costa would have seen us crumble .Granted costa didn't score at the first leg but he made is presence overwhelmingly known.
Again for teams that sit deep, he also easily capitalizes from the space in between the defensive midfielders and center backs. Crosses from deep will not be wasted as he tall and has upper body strength with powerful headers and or the delicious bicycle kicks.
His presence alone will create a lot of space for hazard to be a hazard. I watched his games against madrid and he has repeatedly deceived Sergio Ramos and his high class companions in defence holding them off and scoring from tight angles while doing so.
Finally link up play alone doesn't count for much when it comes to a striker to be able to break down buses , buy physical presence, tight space maneuvers and the weakening of the back four is crucial to it. A lot will say he's a counter attcking striker , yes, but he's not only that, he's a parked bus striker too and a completely good one for that matter. Comparing him to current Torres will be a mistake because torres lacks the pace, killer instinct and intelligent movement he currently possesses. The only thing they have in common is physicality. He is gonna kick scream , whine, bully ,dive, dance, frown, smile, slap for a goal, all characteristics of an asshole, but guess what? He will be our goal-giving asshole