Jose Mourinho doesn’t look like an indecisive person. He wouldn’t pore over the menu in the local Chinese, unable to decide whether to plump for the Chicken Foo Yung or the King Prawn Satay. He’d go for the Foo Yung. And he’d order it with the steely look of a man certain he has made the right call.
In the summer, the Special One had another important choice to make. After a season of public tantrums about not having a striker, Jose had Romelu Lukaku back at Stamford Bridge after another season on loan. The Belgian striker had racked up 17 goals in 35 games for West Brom in 2012/13 and then 15 goals in 31 games for Everton in 2013/14. Now he was back at Chelsea and many thought he deserved his chance to lead the line at the Bridge.
Mourinho thought otherwise. On July 15 Chelsea announced the arrival of Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid for €32m, and two weeks later Lukaku went back to Everton for €28m.
Fast-forward to mid-September and Mourinho’s decision has been fully justified, with Diego Costa racking up seven goals in his first four league games, and helping himself to the August Premier League player of the month, while Chelsea have gone odds-on (4/6) for the league title.
The stats from the 2013/14 season show that there wasn’t a whole lot between Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku on the face of it, although you could argue that Lukaku’s Premier League experience was more valuable. Mourinho had other ideas.
- Costa had a far better conversion rate – scoring one every four chances – and created more opportunities for team-mates than Lukaku.
- While Lukaku had a slightly better shot accuracy, Diego Costa had a better goals per game ratio – banging 27 in 35 La Liga games. That’s just one behind Lionel Messi’s tally and four behind Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Lukaku could boast of a better take-on success rate (48 per cent to 36 per cent), however beating a man is not Costa’s main strength. Gobbling up goals for fun seems to be more his style.
This season Diego Costa (pictured above for Atletico) has hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge, and cost Paddy Power a pretty penny in the process.
- Costa has seven goals in his opening four league games. He has had 11 shots with 10 on target (that’s 91 per cent) and he has a conversion rate of 64 per cent, meaning for every three shots he takes, he’s going to score two. It’s a simply phenomenal start and means if he’s not in your Fantasy Football team, you’re going to struggle.
- If you backed him to score first every week this year you’d be up 94 per cent, and if you backed him each-way you’d be up 166 per cent. You won’t get that kind of interest rate at any bank apart from the Bank of Costa.
- So far customers have staked a six-figure sum on Costa to score first and he’s giving the bean counters some serious grief. The goal away to Everton was the most costly by a mile and led to a week of bread and dripping in the Power Tower canteen.
- Every goal that Costa scores is another 10,000 free bets issued to customers who bet £20 on the Top Goalscorer market thanks to our pre-season offer. So, we’ve issued £140,000 in free bets on Costa alone so far this year. Of course, if Costa actually wins the Top Goalscorer market (he’s currently the 11/10 favourite) we face a payout of close to £2m. Gulp.
The Chelsea striker has opened the scoring in three of Chelsea’s four games this season and is a tasty 5/1 to open the scoring against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. He’s 7/5 to find the net at anytime during the game and it’s 7/2 that Costa will score in a Chelsea win.
You’d be crazier than a bag of angry racoons to back against him, and he’s already got our traders running for cover.
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