Shocking how Diego Costa is now worse than Alvaro Morata?
Background photo: Vespa, CC: BY-SA-3.0
Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata have both enjoyed their fair share of troubles at Stamford Bridge in recent times. The Spaniard is the man who most Chelsea fans will choose in a heartbeat, though. Across three seasons stuffed with controversy, goals and trophies, Costa established himself a cult hero in West London. Morata, meanwhile, hasn’t sparked much belief among Blues faithful. Check again, Morata is fairing much better than Costa presently.
If Chelsea fans don’t loathe Antonio Conte for any reason, they do for letting Costa go. The manner he did was a bit extreme. First, a ‘you’re-no-longer-needed’ text message; before conniving with the club’s hierarchy to force the big man to train with the reserves. Costa opined the club treated him like a criminal. Upon his return to Atletico Madrid, the 30-year-old spoke about his regret for leaving in the first place.
Morata’s decline coincides with Costa’s triumphant Atleti return
Chelsea sold Costa and swiftly replaced him with a younger, better looking Spaniard. On Morata’s shoulders was the copious weight of matching a forward who hauled 59 goals for the club in three years. The former Real Madrid poacher seemed to take the challenge in his stride at first. After a remarkable goalscoring run in the opening months of the season, his form fizzled out. Then came the glaring misses. In the aftermath of his return from a back injury, Morata developed a habit of spurning clear-cut chances.
While Morata struggled for air at Stamford Bridge, over at Atletico, Costa was enjoying himself, doing what he knew best – bully his way to goals. This was in defiance of the four months he had to stay with playing due to Atleti’s transfer ban.
Costa banged in seven strikes in the few months left before the season eclipsed. He formed a dreaded partnership with Antoine Griezmann and helped Los Rojiblancos win a European title. Chelsea fans keeping tabs on happenings at the Wanda Metropolitano could do nothing but wish.
New season, tables turn
Things have flipped with the start of a new campaign. It didn’t look so at the start. Whereas Costa scored twice to help Atleti wrestle the UEFA Super Cup from their City rivals, Morata started the season as he ended it – missing chances and sulking thereafter. After spurning a host of sitters, the former Juventus striker scored in Chelsea’s 3-2 win against Arsenal. It was to be the only goal in his first nine games of the season. Costa wasn’t faring better.
After nine outings for Atletico Madrid Costa is yet to find the net in La Liga. He scored in the Champions League to help Atleti beat Monacochoosebut that’s it. It’s been an uncharacteristic goal drought for the imposing centre-forward.
Morata continues to take stick for the chances that go begging under his watch, but he’s painstakingly piling his goal tally. All of a sudden the 26-year-old is among the top scorers in the Premier League. With five League goals, he’s three shy of Sergio Aguero who tops the chats.
In fairness to Costa, his demons had come in the mode of niggling injuries. Per transfermarkt, he’s missed at least a month due to hamstring and muscle injury. He hobbled off injured last weekend against Athletic Bilbao and could miss a few weeks. Morata had blamed a back injury for his dip in form towards the end of last season.
Both strikers play for clubs challenging for the title in their respective leagues. For such teams, goals come at a pretty high value. This term, there’s still a long way to go on the journey to domestic success. Still, points and goals start counting from day one. As things stand, Alvaro Morata, not the famed Diego Costa, is the man helping his team pull clear on goal difference.