There were a lot of question marks heading into the 2016 campaign for Chelsea football club. The team that had won the league in 2014 couldn’t seem to keep from stepping on their own feet in 2015. Genuine stars floundered without form, and eventually lightning-rod of a manager, Jose Mourinho, was shown the door.
Antonio Conte seems to to have put any speculation as to whether he can manager a Premier league side to bed with Chelsea ripping off four straight wins in a row. But what has helped to bring about the change?
One factor for certain is Diego Costa. It seems under Conte that Costa has found the perfect balance between the animal that he is, and abiding by the rules (at least somewhat). He’s not only leading Chelsea in goals, but he’s leading the entire Premier League with 8 goals in 10 games.
Not without its drawbacks, Costa leads the team in offsides– an indicator that he’s at his usual, peak aggressive levels of play. Known for taking every inch of space given to him, it’s just a casualty of his play style firing on all cylinders that he’s going to occasionally be a step or two ahead.
Matching Diego Costa’s tenacity in front of the net is Chelsea’s defense which have recorded 4 clean sheets in a row for the Blues heading into week 11. Thibaut Courtois has held onto 5 clean sheets the whole campaign of 2016 due to the efforts of Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, and old pro David Luiz.
Is Diego Costa’s relentlessness and Chelsea’s super charged back line enough to carry them through? 10 weeks in they’re only 1 point behind the three-way tie for first.
It’d be foolish to overlook them at this point.
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