Diego Costa scored a hat trick against Swansea City as Chelsea won 4-2 on Saturday to keep their 100% record going. The 25-year-old striker was already receiving several plaudits ahead of the game, having received the Player of the Month award after just three appearances since his £32m move from Atletico Madrid.
Goals against Burnley and Leicester – and a brace against Everton – helped Chelsea to a maximum of nine points at the start of the season and Costa was able to silence his doubters.
Last season, Chelsea’s main issue was the lack of a natural goalscorer up front, with Fernando Torres having misfired since his £50m move from Liverpool nearly four years ago. Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o were also on the books at Chelsea but failed to live up to expectations. All are now at different clubs, with Torres loaned to AC Milan, Ba at Turkish giants Besiktas, and Eto’o at Everton – along with Romelu Lukaku, who joined the Toffees for £28m from Chelsea.
This season, Jose Mourinho can call upon Loic Remy as well as club legend Didier Drogba in his second spell at the club. But it is Spanish international Costa that has become an instant hit in West London. His predatory instinct, strength and pace – along with a brilliantly developed understanding with fellow Spain star Cesc Fabregas – have given Chelsea the edge in every game this season.
After Burnley had taken the lead against the Blues in their first game of the season, Costa quickly equalized with a poacher’s goal, sparking a revival that led to a 3-1 win at Turd Moor. Against Leicester City, Costa opened the scoring with another predatory strike, bundling home a chance under immense pressure from the Foxes’ defenders as well as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. The Blues went on to win 2-0.
And in the most remarkable game of the season so far, Costa scored within the first minute at Goodison Park and added another in the second half as Chelsea ran out 6-3 winners against Everton. His hat trick against Swansea capped a great start to his life in England as he became the first player to score seven goals in his first four Premier League games.
Costa has undoubtedly deserved the plaudits that have come his way. His exploits for Atletico Madrid last season led them to the Spanish league title – the first time a side other than Barcelona and Real Madrid have won La Liga since Valencia in 2004.
He also fired them to a Champions League final, but was forced off early in that game with an injury, as he was not fully fit at the start of the game. Unfortunately for Atletico, they lost the final to arch rivals Real Madrid – it finished 4-1 after extra time.
Mourinho constantly bemoaned his lack of firepower last season, but will be over the moon with Costa’s early season return. Having finished trophy-less last season, Chelsea are under pressure to win some silverware this season, and may have found an attack that can fire them to glory. With Cesc Fabregas, Oscar, Andre Schürrle and Eden Hazard providing the support, and Costa banging in the goals, Chelsea may well have the perfect formula for success.
It would be no surprise to see the Blues at the top of the league at the end of the season, just as they are now, and it would take a brave person to bet against the Premier League trophy being delivered to Stamford Bridge in May. Mourinho is a master of success in management, and has signed a man that should make his job so much easier – August’s player of the month Diego Costa.