Diego Costa looked none worse for the wear on Sunday — neither physically with regards to his back injury nor mentally with regards to his supposed bust-up and/or transfer rumor shenanigans — and got right back into the swing of things for Chelsea. He could've opened the scoring in the first 10 seconds, then had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside before giving Chelsea the lead in first-half stoppage time with a first-time finish from a Moses low cross.
Costa's goal was notable for a slightly more trivial reason as well.
51:35 - At 51 minutes and 35 seconds, Diego Costa's is the latest 1st half goal since Opta started recording exact times (2006-07). Gasp.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 22, 2017
Costa could've doubled his tally late on in the second half, but he just missed sliding the ball underneath Hull City goalkeeper Eldin Jakupović. He was withdrawn with a handful of minutes remaining to a standing ovation.
Afterwards, boss Antonio Conte was happy with the big man's contribution and was pleased to hear that Costa celebrated his goal in style.
"His performance was good, and I am pleased... for this reason, he started the game. During the press conference before the game against Hull, a lot of people asked me about his form, about his attitude, and I told them that I will take the best decision for the team. And I think after his performance that I made the best decision."
"It is normal to receive a lot of questions about it, but the most important thing for us is the answer that we give on the pitch. For the player, for me, the club, our fans, for the league and the table."
"Honestly, I was very happy to see the celebration because I was celebrating the goal on the bench. I think for Diego the most important thing was that he scored. The celebration was good, but most importantly he scored!"
-Antonio Conte; source: Sky
While Conte's declaration that all Costa side-chatter should stop now is probably a bit too hopeful, Costa's performance was as good as we could've generally hoped for. He got his goal, Chelsea got the win, and we can all look forward to a less dramatic week. I hope.