Galin Dragiev

Player Analysis

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Diego Costa to the Rescue

Friday, July 25, 2014


One of the biggest signings of the summer has been Chelsea’s acquisition of Spanish striker Diego Costa.  Chelsea paid a hefty £32 million fee for the goal scorer and are hoping to get a good return on their money.  Despite Costa’s prolific scoring record, some have criticized him and questioned if he can continue his goal scoring ways in the Premier League.  Part of the criticism comes from his sub-par performance in the latter stages of the Champions League last season but it’s important to remember that Costa was injured and not playing at 100% during the semi-final and final last season.  Another source of criticism was his performance for Spain in the World Cup this summer, but we’ll see later that Costa’s performance is hugely related to his supporting cast, which performed below average at best at the World Cup. 

 

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La Liga Performance

Diego Costa’s performance in La Liga was extremely impressive.  He scored 27 goals in 35 matches on just 3.1 shots per game, according to WhoScored.   Below is the performance of the top five goal scorers in La Liga.

 

Player

Goals

Left Foot

Right Foot

Headed

SpG

Shooting %

Inside Area

Cristiano Ronaldo

31

2

26

3

7.2

54%

58%

Lionel Messi

28

22

5

1

5.2

67%

62%

Diego Costa

27

11

14

2

3.1

57%

86%

Alexis Sanchez

19

1

17

1

1.9

59%

85%

Karim Benzema

17

5

8

4

2.9

51%

80%

*Stats from Squawka and WhoScored.

 

As you can see from the stats, Costa is your typical target man.  From the top five goal scorers, he had the highest percentage of shots from inside the area at 86%.  Another impressive feature about Costa was that he had a very balanced scoring record that included 11 left-footed goals, 14 right-footed, and 2 headed goals.  The fact that he can finish with both feet is an added bonus for any target man and Costa has shown he can strike from anywhere in the box given the opportunity

 

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Fit for Chelsea

Costa is a perfect fit for Chelsea, who have a very strong midfield that can create chances for their strikers.  In fact, Chelsea ranked second last year in chances created but were seventh in shot accuracy (45%).  Costa should increase that number if he matches his accuracy from last season.  Only one Chelsea striker, Samuel Eto’o, had a better shooting accuracy than Costa last season but he struggled to stay healthy and only featured in 21 Premier League matches.

 

The Blues return an attacking midfield trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Willian and they have Mohamed Salah and World Cup star Andre Schurrle coming off the bench.  All five of them feature speed and creativity that constantly creates opportunities for Chelsea’s strikers and I expect Costa to benefit greatly from that.  Right behind the attacking midfielders will likely be new-signing Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic, who featured a pass accuracy of 87 and 85%, respectively.  Fabregas recorded a team high 13 assists in Barcelona and is expected to act as a playmaker for Chelsea as well.  In conclusion, Costa will have an even better supporting cast at Chelsea than he did at Atletico Madrid and with his finishing touch, he can be a deadly weapon.

 

Fantasy Value

This is sort of cliché but it’s extremely true for fantasy sports.  Fantasy value depends on three major categories:

  • Player Skill
  • System Fit
  • Opportunity

 

If we look at Diego Costa at Chelsea, there is major potential here.  We know Costa’s skill and finishing ability are top notch.  We also know he is a good fit for Chelsea.  And we know he’ll have the opportunity.  Chelsea really struggled at the striker position last season, shuffling between Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o, and Demba Ba.  Eto’o is gone and Ba has left on loan, leaving only the struggling Torres at Chelsea.  Chelsea have also signed Didier Drogba, but he is 36 years old and will likely be used off the bench.  All signs are pointing towards Costa being Chelsea’s number one option up front, and if that happens, we can expect a significant number of goals.  Another factor to consider here is Costa’s penalty taking skills.  Costa took penalties at Atletico last season and if he can take over the job from Eden Hazard, he can be a lethal fantasy option for managers.  Taking all this into consideration, I feel safe using Costa in fantasy this year and I think he can be a bargain early on.



Galin D. is a Rotoworld contributor who enjoys writing about soccer (football). He can be found on Twitter at @GalinDragiev.
Email :Galin Dragiev



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