Former defender Ken Monkou feels that Diego Costa was the difference maker in this Chelsea and has departure weakened the team considerably.
The Diego Costa saga of the summer was the start of a troublesome and topsy-turvy season for Chelsea. The Spaniard’s acrimonious departure in January preceded a six-month exile. Alvaro Morata was bought in the summer to fill Costa’s boots as a premier No.9, he has failed to live up to expectations as of yet, however.
Costa scored 20 times in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign of 2016-17. In his three years at Chelsea, Costa collected two Premier League winner’s medals and was influential both the times. Now, he has been labelled as “Chelsea’s Didier Drogba or Zlatan Ibrahimovic” by Ken Monkou.
Monkou, who played at Stamford Bridge from 1989 to 1992 told the Daily Mirror:
“In any team, you need a figurehead – a player who leads you into battle and creates problem for the opposition and Costa was that player for Chelsea.”
“He was Chelsea’s Didier Drogba or Zlatan Ibrahimovic – a player with [resence, charisma and aura around him on the pitch.”
A former Chelsea player of the year believes their problems are all down to losing one man…https://t.co/V2ZiWxQUJV
— Goal News (@GoalNews) April 8, 2018
The Dutchman went on to heap further praise on Diego Costa claiming that his presence on the pitch made life easier for his teammates. He added:
“Simply by being in the team, his sheer presence will be a problem for the opponents, When he played Costa deflected attention from teammates like Eden Hazard and Willian. He often occupied two or three players because you simply couldn’t take the risk of leaving him alone.”
Can Morata equal his compatriot’s effect for Chelsea?
Monkou also compared Costa’s on-field impact with that of Alvaro Morata. While he admired the 25-year-old’s qualities, there was one thing he said was missing from Morata’s game.
“Alvaro Morata has come in and I do like him as a player. He’s got plenty of qualities, especially in the air where he is very strong. But Morata doesn’t have the same air of menace this season that Costa gave Chelsea… they haven’t carried the same threat without him.”
Costa has gone back to Atletico Madrid but can Alvaro Morata make the fans forget him..?
Morata’s struggles this calendar year have been well documented but he is starting to rediscover his early season form. With a semi-final FA Cup to look forward to and the fight for top-4 still on, Morata would be hoping that his performances dispell any comparisons with his predecessor.
Diego Costa is one of the most street-smart in world football at the moment. His dirty, in-your-face antics boded well for Chelsea. His absence has seen them lack any sort of fight in the final third. Morata, while capable enough, is a different type of level. Whether he can leave his stamp at Stamford Bridge is for any anyone to see.