Chelsea have been handed a blow in their pursuit of the Premier League title after it emerged that star striker Diego Costa has been dropped from their squad for the visit to Leicester this evening.
The Spaniard is believed to be unsettled at the London club.
One of the reasons for Costa’s absence is that he had a reported row with one of the Blues fitness coaches.
The striker has not trained with the first team for three days. Another reason that Costa has become unsettled is believed to have been big-money interest from China.
Whatever the reasons, Diego Costa not being in the Chelsea team is bad news for the league leaders, as the Blues prepare to face reigning champions Leicester City.
Costa has rediscovered his deadly form
Diego Costa has rediscovered his best form this season and is currently the Premier League with 14 goals in the top-flight. The Spanish international went through a difficult campaign last season, having been prolific in his previous few campaigns.
This season he has got back to his best. He holds the ball up superbly and brings teammates into games. However, most notably he has scored the goals that have helped the Blues establish a five point lead at the top of the Premier League.
Arguably Costa is the Blues most influential player. The former Atletico Madrid star has scored so many vital goals for the Blues this season. His performances have set the tone for the rest of the team.
Chelsea needs Costa
According to morning reports, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is unwilling to sell Costa. Whether that situation changes when he has properly consults with Blues boss Antonio Conte remains to be seen.
The situation is a difficult one considering the way the team have performed in recent months. The Blues need Diego Costa to stay at the top of the Premier League table. The Blues have very little attacking cover. Costa’s understudy Michy Batshuayi has been heavily linked with a move away from the club.
The leaders have been linked with a move for Swansea’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente. However, the experienced striker is nowhere near the same standard as Costa.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte needs to sort this situation out and quickly before it hampers their title challenge. Costa will already be missing from the Leicester game. If the Blues slip-up, they could be just two points clear of second-place Liverpool by the end of the weekend.
The Blues needs to try and come to a compromise with Costa. If he wants to leave the club then maybe the club can come to an agreement with the striker that he can leave in the summer. At least then it will give Chelsea the striker’s services for the rest of the campaign.
The 28-year-old is not the sort of guy to down tools. Even if he knew that he was leaving he would give his all for Chelsea. On Friday night Costa sent a message of support to his teammates, so he is obviously not too down hearted.
Could be a key factor in the title race
Chelsea are of course league leaders and still favourites to win the Premier League title at odds of 8/11, whether the Costa situation has an effect on that remains to be seen. However, the immediate effect of Costa missing the Leicester game is a tactical rearrangement for Antonio Conte.
The Italian decided to field Willian, Pedro and Eden Hazard as a front three when Costa was suspended. It seems likely that will be repeated at the King Power Stadium this evening.
That is the short-term issue. The long-term issue is whether Costa will return to the team anytime soon. The Brazilian-born star is infamously moody and temperament. His mood can reportedly switch very quickly.
His boss is also very fiery and is believed to have told the striker ‘go to China’ in the incident that seems to have led to Costa’s omission from the squad to face Leicester.
Chelsea fans will be hoping that this situation will turn out to be just a storm in a tea cup. They will be hoping that the situation will blow over and the striker will continue to fire them to the Premier League title.
If the situation does not die down and Costa remains out of favour at the club. It could cost the Blues the title just when it seemed like they were the team to stop in the Premier League.
This row could be a key factor in the Premier League title race. While Chelsea fans will be upset by the news, their title rivals will be elated.
Costa missing from the Chelsea team means they will be missing one of their key players and the Blues being weaker is only going to weaken their title challenge.
Would Chelsea be able to win the Premier League title without Diego Costa?
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