Diego Costa key to Chelsea’s Champions League hopes

Diego Costa played just 60 minutes at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea’s 5-1 thumping of Newcastle on Saturday night, but scored the team’s opener inside five minutes from kick-off before setting up the third goal for Willian.

The Spanish international had a barren run of form under Jose Mourinho and has scored only thrice in 14 league games after Chelsea found themselves in the relegation threat.

Since the Portuguese manager’s departure, the Blues slowly improved in all departments and now look like a team with some stability under the management of interim coach Guss Hiddink.

Costa has now scored 7 goals in 8 Premier League appearances under Hiddink and the role he plays in the Dutchman’s tactical set-up has been a key factor in his resurgence.

It is no doubt that both the managers has a similar philosophy based on counter-attacking football. The Dutchman proves to be more efficient in setting up his team and sending them out to the field to deadliest effect.

And almost every attack starts with Costa, utilizing his strong run and ability to muscle past defenders. There is no wonder that Costa enjoys more freedom under Hiddink and the goals which were once dried up started coming back.

His free role at the edge of opposition defense proved to be much effective. The penetrating ball from the defense of midfield is meant for Costa to run onto before getting to a position from where he can shoot or pick a team mate to finish it off.

Chelsea are now 12th in the Premier League and could drop a few places depending upon the results on Sunday. But the team is now unbeaten in their last 10 league games and could start dreaming of a top four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.

Chelsea are currently 14 points behind the fourth placed team and mathematically they still have a slight chance to achieve this. For this they must win almost all of 12 matches from now on. But the recent performances shows that they have what it takes to achieve this.

Chelsea, alongside Leicester City, Tottenham and Southampton are the inform team in the league at the moment. And anyone can anyone nature of the matches this season could work in favour of the Stamford Bridge Blues, if they keep winning their matches.

And for the 27-year old Costa, if he can match the 20-goal mark achieved in last season, Chelsea could find themselves inside top four at the end of the season.