Diego Costa has had, by most accounts, a terrific debut season in the Premier League leading the top of the goal scoring charts for most of the season. Jose Mourinho’s somewhat guaranteed return to the summit of the league he won in seasons 2005 and 2006, is thanks in major part to the exploits of a rampaging, unforgiving and uncompromising Diego Costa.
The Brazilian-born Spaniard has made the headlines for tussling with the league’s best defenders, and more often than not coming out on top. Even when he doesn’t score, he’s taken away so much of the opponent’s focus and bearings that it becomes considerably easier for others in the team to score. Had Diego stayed fit, we would be betting on how much of a gap Chelsea would maintain between itself and the second-placed side at the end of the season. But Diego hasn’t, and with that old nemesis – his hamstring – coming back to haunt him, Chelsea are suddenly looking at a rocky end to the season.
How badly Costa’s absence will be felt is a matter of contention, since Chelsea do have the luxury of calling on two strikers who would make the first-teams of at least half the Premier League sides, if not more. With Drogba, Chelsea have an aging warhorse who may lost a could of yards in pace, but is still capable of muscling off his opponents long enough for Chelsea to pose a more potent threat up front. In Loic Remy, Chelsea have a young star who has impressed every time he has come on to the field, but may find it hard to maintain that performance level under the stress that comes with knowing he’s suddenly top dog.
Chelsea take on relegation-battling QPR this Sunday, with former QPR hitman Loic Remy expected to lead the charge. Having had the opportunity to study him while he was part of the squad, the Rangers are unlikely to be surprised by what he throws at them. It wouldn’t be farfetched to presume Loic Remy is likely to go scoreless in the game.
Where Chelsea will rely on him, is in the home game with Manchester United and away the subsequent weekend at Arsenal. With both these big-four sides on the ascendancy, Loic Remy remains one of the few relatively unknown propositions in the game. Arsenal presumably studied the young Frenchman when he was on their target list, and the Gunners will be keen to prove he isn’t missed in North London.
Remy cost Newcastle United a paltry 2.3 million Euros, but came good for the Toons with a rich streak of 14 goals and 3 assists. He was prised out of a seething Rangers’ side by Chelsea, and has waited patiently on the sidelines for a shot at glory. Chelsea might be pleased to win the game against Manchester United, but will settle for a draw given their main striker is out of business.
But it is the game against Arsenal at the Emirates that will matter most. Mourinho has never lost to Arsene Wenger, and with Chelsea looking increasingly suspect at the back, the French legend at Arsenal will be licking his lips in anticipation. It will fall to Remy to salvage some Chelsea pride in both games, and if he scores one goal in either game, he will have done his best.
Chelsea’s ideal scenario would be to perform so well in April, despite Costa’s absence, that Mourinho could afford to rest Costa for the rest of the season. A several-month long rest for Costa would help him nurse his muscles back to health on a more relaxed time-frame. Even a juggernaut like Diego needs a break.
Achilles has his heel; Costa has his hamstring.