If you thought Sunday’s performance from Diego Costa was rather Didier Drogba-esque in many respects, you are not alone. For example, here’s stand-in captain Gary Cahill, who had the privilege to play with the Chelsea legend for a season and a half, winning a Champions League, a Premier League, and even a League Cup trophy in the process.
"The fans are getting behind Diego because he is banging goals in and winning us football matches. Didier was a huge figure, goalscoring-wise, and on and off the pitch, personality wise."
"You need strikers like that at a club like Chelsea and Diego is fitting into that role nicely. This season he is on fire. He is up there in world football at the moment."
"The stats don’t lie. We hope that continues. Everyone is playing well, so that’s the most positive thing. Diego gets the goals, but everybody contributes to that and that’s what is giving us the success we are having."
Beyond his goalscoring rate, Diego also deserved praise in regards to his discipline. After collecting four yellow cards in the first six matches of the season (albeit several of which were rather harsh for “dissent”), Costa has now gone nine Premier League matches in a row without collecting his fifth, which would mean an automatic one-game suspension.
According to Cahill, the secret to Diego's newfound approach comes from how he channels his still-aggressive playing style on the pitch nowadays.
"He’s exactly the same fella, the same guy as when he first came. He’s channelling his aggression in the right way and not getting as frustrated as he usually would."
"I can see, because I know him, when gets frustrated, like he was in the first half on Sunday. But he’s channelling it in the right direction and being patient because when the goals are coming he knows he’ll get that one chance and he’ll stick it away. That’s where he’s channelling his energy."
"His goal was work-rate, effort and class all in one moment. He had no right to score that goal whatsoever."
Tony Pulis' tactics at the Bridge gave Chelsea a hell of a hard time, and made it difficult for the Blues to break through the visitors’ massed, disciplined ranks in defense.
rewatching Chelsea. WBA's defensive spacing for first ~hour is absurdly consistent. No space to use with deep passing, ever.— Graham MacAree (@MacAree) December 12, 2016
Fortunately, Costa put the team on his shoulders to get the three points while the defense locked it down at the other end. Now, the task is to keep this momentum going as long as we can.
"A win is win, but that game proved how hard it is to get three points in the Premier League. We are doing really well, they made it tough, but thankfully we got the goal."
"It’s a nice feeling when you go into a game with the records we have got - wins, goals, clean sheets, so it takes the pressure away. The forwards aren’t feeling pressure to score more goals and we are feeling confident."
-Gary Cahill; source: Daily Express
In only two days, Chelsea will be meeting a desperate Sunderland side at the Stadium of Light. Moyes may be no Pulis, but this also won’t be easy.