John Aldridge: Diego Costa has turned into a bit of an idiot
What has happened to Chelsea striker Diego Costa?
Well, he has turned into a bit of a p***k if you ask me and his decline has been symptomatic of everything that has gone wrong at Chelsea.
Regular readers of my Sunday World column will know that I’m not an admirer of the way Jose Mourinho goes about his business, so he won’t get any sympathy from me following his dramatic fall from grace.
Yet I liked the way Costa went about his work in his first campaign as a Premier League player and it does surprise me that he is struggling so badly.
Costa is a rugged, old fashioned centre-forward. I saw something of myself in him in the way he likes a battle with defenders and finds a way to score goals on days when things are not going his way, but that has all changed.
A little like his annoyingly aggressive manager, Costa has behaved like an idiot for much of this season and he is getting just what he deserves for his troubles – bugger all!
We all like to see a hard-nosed striker get in the faces of his rivals and give them a hard time, with the idea that he comes out the other side of the battle with a couple of goals to his credit.
However, a little like his crazy manager, Costa is coming away from games with nothing but annoyance and frustration to reflect upon.
While Mourinho and his players got away with their cynical and nasty antics when they were winning, their moaning a groaning wears thin pretty quickly when they suffer the kind of slump in results we have witnessed in recent weeks.
Chelsea have lost their focus in a big way and while that starts at the top with Mourinho, it has trickled down through his players. Costa is one of many who look like they have gone right now.
Like Costa, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas have also lost their way and that may be the primary reason why Chelsea’s leading marksman in their title-winning push has gone off the boil.
Costa thrived on the service he was getting from Hazard and Fabregas and the goals flowed for him in his first few months as a Chelsea player.
They had the title wrapped up with plenty to spare and took their foot off the gas to such an extent that they have struggled to get back up to speed.
What disappoints me about Costa is his apparent inability to find a way of scoring goals now the tide has turned against him.
I was once in a failing Real Sociedad side, but a striker with a hunger to score goals finds a way to get themselves in positions that will allow them to score, even if their team are struggling.
We have seen plenty of fight from Costa in recent weeks, but his aggression is being channelled in the wrong direction as he seems determined to fight with his opponents and referees rather than focusing on his own form.
Costa can start scoring goals again, but it will not be easy for him or Chelsea to recapture the form that gave them such an aura of invincibility.
It remains to be seen how long Chelsea can wait for the Costa of the first half of last season to return and if we don’t see him scoring again soon, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them spending big to replace him.