Costa fill­ing vac­uum left by Drogba: Cahill

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Diego Costa is be­gin­ning to have the same im­pact at Chelsea as Di­dier Drogba once did, cen­tral de­fender Gary Cahill be­lieves. Costa has come to sym­bol­ise the club’s trans­for­ma­tion un­der An­to­nio Conte and en­sured the Blues ex­tended their win­ning streak to nine Pre­mier League games with the win­ning goal against West Bromwich Al­bion on Sun­day.

That goal, Costa’s 12th in 15 league ap­pear­ances this sea­son, moved Conte’s side back three points clear at the head of the ta­ble ahead of the mid­week trip to face bot­tom club Sun­der­land at the Sta­dium of Light.

And the man­ner in which the Brazil-born Spain striker cre­ated and scored an ex­cel­lent in­di­vid­ual goal in the fi­nal mo­ments of the game re­called mem­o­ries of the in­spi­ra­tional Drogba.

The for­mer Ivory Coast in­ter­na­tional spent nine years at Stam­ford Bridge, de­liv­er­ing a suc­ces­sion of tro­phies to the club-in­clud­ing fa­mously scor­ing the de­ci­sive penalty that se­cured them the Cham­pi­ons League.

Cahill be­lieves there is a com­par­i­son to be made be­tween Costa-who is now in his third sea­son at the club-and the Ivo­rian.

“Di­dier was a huge fig­ure goal-scor­ing wise and also with his per­son­al­ity on and off the pitch,” said Cahill. “You need strik­ers like that and Diego has fit­ted in nicely. Since he’s been at the club he’s scored goals but this sea­son he’s on fire. “Are the fans start­ing to love him like they loved Di­dier? Yes of course be­cause he is bang­ing goals in ev­ery week. He is win­ning us matches. “At this mo­ment he is right up there among the best in the world. The statis­tics don’t lie.”

Costa’s tal­ents have been ap­par­ent since he ar­rived at the club while the for­ward has also de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for a fiery tem­per­a­ment.

But he has been no­tice­ably more re­strained dur­ing the club’s re­cent re­vival, go­ing ten matches with­out a cau­tion.

“He is not get­ting as frus­trated as he used to. He is chan­nelling (his en­ergy) in the right di­rec­tion now and is be­ing pa­tient,” said Cahill.

“I haven’t had to have a word with him about it, I think that’s some­thing he has added to his game this sea­son.” Conte has no fresh in­juries to con­tend with but may opt to start with Wil­lian ahead of Pedro. Sun­der­land man­ager David Moyes has con­ceded his side need to em­bark on an­other run of good form af­ter the 3-0 de­feat at Swansea saw them re­turn to the foot of the Pre­mier League ta­ble. The Black Cats had won three of their four pre­vi­ous games, but with the bot­tom six clubs sep­a­rated by only four points, a sim­i­lar se­quence of vic­to­ries will boost their bid to pull off a fifth con­sec­u­tive suc­cess­ful rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

Cer­tainly they are in a bet­ter place form­wise than when they failed to win any of their first 10 games. “As a club, we’ve been in this sit­u­a­tion many times be­fore so it’s not some­thing that’s new to us,” said Moyes.

“Those re­cent three wins in four put us back in with a fight­ing chance, when a few weeks ago we weren’t in with one. We prob­a­bly need to go on a sim­i­lar run like that an­other two or three times this sea­son.” — AFP

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