Diego Costa is beginning to earn similar hero status to Didier Drogba at Chelsea as a result of his prolific scoring this season, according to teammate Gary Cahill.
Chelsea extended their winning streak in the Premier League to nine matches on Sunday after a spectacular solo effort from Costa broke down a disciplined and organised West Brom at Stamford Bridge, taking the Spain international’s personal tally to 12 goals in 15 appearances this season.
The talismanic nature of Costa’s performances as the focal point of Chelsea’s attack have prompted comparisons with Drogba, who scored 164 goals in 381 appearances across two spells for the Blues and was voted the club’s greatest ever player by supporters in 2012 after winning the Champions League.
Cahill sees Costa as a fitting heir to Drogba at Stamford Bridge, and believes his record marks him out as one of the world’s best strikers.
“Didier was a huge figure goal-scoring wise and also with his personality on and off the pitch,” Cahill told the London Evening Standard after the West Brom win.
“You need strikers like that and Diego has fitted in nicely. Since he’s been at the club he’s scored goals but this season he’s on fire.
“Are the fans starting to love him like they loved Didier? Yes, of course, because he is banging goals in every week. He is winning us matches.
“At this moment he is right up there among the best in the world. The statistics don’t lie.”
One of the more intriguing subplots of Costa’s form is his improved disciplinary record. After collecting four yellow cards in six appearances by late September, he has so far avoided the fifth booking that would result in an automatic one-match ban if picked up before Dec. 31.
“He is not getting as frustrated as he used to,” Cahill added of Costa. “He is channelling [his energy] in the right direction now and is being patient.
“I haven’t had to have a word with him about it — I think that’s something he has added to his game this season.”