Just when everything was starting to look up, it came crashing down with definitive, conclusive force. Chelsea's season, for all intents and purposes, is over. Nine game left to shore up our league position, and perhaps continue to push for Europa League qualification, though failure in that regard would hardly result in the massive waves of disappointment that our unceremonious exits from the Champions League and the FA Cup have caused this week.
And while the loss to PSG was not unexpected given the French champions' form, quality, and confidence, Everton have been as bad, if not even worse than Chelsea this season. The match was there for the taking and only a collapse in the final quarter of an hour prevented the Blues from securing at least a replay. Diego Costa's shenanigans only added to the feeling of final and decisive implosion.
But we can't just forfeit or forgo the rest of the season. And with the watchful eyes of the new manager no doubt watching in pointless anonymity (hi, Antonio!), many players could already be auditioning for a spot in next season's squad or on the transfer list. Presumably, Costa will stay, though he looks no closer to breaking the narrative and prejudices around him after Saturday's display.
"When I did not know Diego from the inside - since December I do, bit by bit, the first couple of weeks you have to get used to it. You could not approach him (not sure I understood this little bit). But you see him I would say that I have got sympathy for him."
"Nevertheless, I also talk about how we can control him. He did halfway during the season, then afterwards then, I think he was different in his behaviour. I have said many time [...] don't give any guarantee, as he is not a machine, but a human being, that he will not at one time explode again."
"It also gives the frustration. He always wants to play. If you see him medically, maybe we should have said the Champions League would be difficult, the FA Cup, difficult because not of is not lack of fitness, but little injures. He made (scored) the goal against Paris St-Germain, so it's a balance. I brought in some young guys like (Bertrand) Traore but they have to step up. Of course, we will see the incident (Costa ‘bite' on Barry) but in principle I protect them, every man."
"During my spell I haven't seen him go over the edge. This is now, and I would like to see it, this is now, maybe, the first time, in his frustration, not being totally fit, this is an accumulation of frustration, and then, he reacts."
-Guus Hiddink; source: London 24
While there was no actual bite, Costa could still face disciplinary action for his behavior towards the referee and/or the Everton fans.
That said, Hiddink doesn't seem too concerned about it all, and obviously he's come out once again in strong support of Diego, who needs 5 goals to reach the 20-goal mark for the fourth consecutive season. He's been a key man in last year's title win and this season's semi-turnaround under Hiddink. Whoever will be the new manager, Costa's goals (and the associated sideshow) will be keys to our success going forward still.