Premier League
November 6, 2016

Is Costa the best striker in the Premier League?

Is Costa genuinely amazing, or is does Conte's system help him?



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Diego Costa has been in blistering form at the start of this Premier League season. Costa has found the net nine times this season after only eleven games so far, putting him top of the goal scoring charts. With his brilliant form to start the season, Costa has been labelled the best striker in the Premier League by some people. Although Costa has proved is a ‘world class’ striker, he isn’t the best in the Premier League in my opinion.

In the first three matches this season, Costa wasn’t playing all that well in my eye. He managed to score two goals in those games but his overall game wasn’t all that impressive. So much so that I was calling for Batshiuayi to start over him. Costa was almost getting in the way of Eden Hazard’s mazy runs, and when Hazard would look to play a one-two with Costa, the Spaniard would often mess the pass up. Obviously, since then Costa has dramatically improved his all-round game and is now not just scoring goals, but creating opportunities for himself and others (but before I get absolutely slaughtered, I also said a similar thing about Zlatan Ibrahimović!).

After his poor early season form, Costa had a much-improved game away to Swansea where he found the net twice. Not only did he score two goals, but he also looked very good in his all-round play especially given the close attention paid to him by the Swansea defensive players. In his next two games, Costa wasn’t great but that wasn’t helped by the lack of service by the players behind him; Chelsea as a whole were incredibly poor in those games against Liverpool and Arsenal, but to be fair to him, you could probably argue he was Chelsea’s best player in those two fixtures.

Costa’s brilliant form has also coincided with the change in formation to Conte’s 3-4-2-1. Costa has benefited from having Hazard and Willian/Pedro playing just off him. Hazard’s performances have also significantly improved with this change in formation. The four midfield players in Moses, Kante, Matic and Alonso, have also been playing better under the new system and with those four playing well, that improves the service to the two attacking midfield players, thus improving service to Costa.

So, as good as Costa has been so far, he isn’t the best striker in the Premier League for me; Sergio Agüero is still the best. Although Agüero has scored slightly fewer goals, his minutes-per-goal ratio is higher than Costa’s at 94. Costa is currently scoring a goal every 109 minutes. That puts him third in the League for players who have scored five or more goals, behind Aguero and just behind Romelu Lukaku. I personally think that there are five world-class strikers in the Premier League with those being Aguero, Sanchez, Costa, Lukaku and Kane in that order.

Costa’s form in recent weeks has been nothing short of spectacular. He was again a key figure against Everton. If Costa can keep up his scintillating form, Chelsea will certainly be in the conversation of who will have their name on the trophy come May.

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