September 16, 2014

Costa the best buy of the summer

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

I’m not sure that we’re even going to be able to debate the best signing of the season in the Premier League because we already have the answer: Diego Costa.

He is basically everything that Chelsea lacked last season in an attacker. He is the perfect poaching No. 9 that is in the right spot at the right time all the time.

That was certainly the case on Saturday as the Blues maintained their 100% record by trouncing fellow table-toppers Swansea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Costa potted three goals that were all about opportunity and now has seven on the season in just four games.

That’s seven in four games compared to five for Fernando Torres, five for Demba Ba and nine for Samuel Eto’o in the entire 2013-14 campaign.

As demonstrated by those numbers, you can clearly see that Chelsea’s strikers weren’t all that great at, well, striking.

Costa is just that. Two of his goals against the Swans came on clever runs and simple deflections past the hopeless keeper.

While some forwards need to be the focus of the attack, Costa is just fine stepping into the right spot, which makes him perfect to lead the line for a Chelsea side with a lot of creativity in attack and is sturdy in defence.

With Costa, I’m not so sure that the Premier League won’t become a race for second place, because the Blues might just get too far ahead to be caught.


All that it took was a 4-0 thumping of an awful-looking QPR side for some to proclaim that Manchester United is ready to contend. Let’s just hold off on that for a second.

Firstly, it was just Louis van Gaal’s first EPL win.

Second, I still see some issues with this side.

With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both out, Tyler Blackett remains in the starting lineup.

Sure, the Radamel Falcao signing looks nice on paper, but where is he going to play? The more offensive talent that the Red Devils add, the more that is going to be left out.

And remember: This was just against one of  the worst teams in the EPL.

While some have pointed out that the last time United had two points from the first three games, it went on to win the title. But after that poor start in 2007, it reeled off eight straight wins.

If van Gaal can get on a run like that, then we can start proclaiming Manchester United as the powerhouse it thinks it is.


This season’s first heavyweight battle ended in a draw as Arsenal and Manchester City fought it out at the Emirates. The real star of the show was Jack Wilshere, who looks to have finally found a position to shine in for the Gunners. With Arsene Wenger moving underachieving Mesut Ozil out wide, Wilshere was able to shine in the middle of the pitch, picking up a goal and an assist. If not for Martin Demichelis’ late tying goal, the Englishman would be the talk of the tabloids even more this week … It feels like forever that Sergio Aguero has played a full game. He is either hurt or subbed off or comes on as a sub, but always seems to score … With Mathieu Debuchy ruled out for as long as three months, Arsenal’s defensive depth is going to be seriously challenged. With Champions League starting today, the Gunners calendar is going to look a bit congested. While Callum Chambers will step in against Borussia Dortmund, there’s little top-class cover on the backline after him … Crystal Palace 0, Burnley 0 because of course it was … Everton picked up its first win of the season, topping West Brom 2-0 thanks to Romelu Lukaku potting his first of the season less than two minutes in … When was the last time that a West Ham player scored a goal like Enner Valencia’s against Hull City on Monday? With the Hammers buying more and more players with skill attributes more than strength and aggression, we could see them play a style more to the fan’s liking – and much to Big Sam’s chagrin … Anybody that picked Southampton to be relegated is looking pretty silly right about now … Despite spending what felt like the entire second half in Aston Villa’s end of the pitch, Liverpool just could not finish. How many people would’ve predicted the Villas would hold the powerful Reds and claim a clean sheet at Anfield? And to do it without injured top centre back Ron Vlaar? And who would’ve thought that Aston Villa would be second in the Premier League at any point?


It’s time for Alan Pardew to go.

While Tony Pulis may have technically been the first manager to leave his post this season, Newcastle’s Pardew should certainly be next.

There has been enough roster turnover at St. James to tell you that it isn’t the players that are letting this side down.

After this weekend’s 4-0 demolishing at the hands of Southampton, there have been plenty of calls for his head to roll. Honestly, I think it’s about time and I’m surprised he has lasted this long.

The Magpies went throw a couple of horrid stretches last season that should’ve been enough to tie a can on Pardew. Now, Newcastle sits at the bottom of the table with two points from four games and a minus-6 goal differential.

It’s not like there’s a lack of replacements out there, either.

David Moyes may not be the right man for a massive club like Manchester United, but he would be more than capable of managing the Magpies to Europa League contention in a couple of years.

The hot name is Hull City’s Steve Bruce, but the fact that the Tigers are visiting the Northeast this coming weekend does that rumour no favours.

So really, if the only reason that Pardew hasn’t been fired is that his contract is too much to buy out, well that’s just not good enough. Keeping a lame duck around could lead this team to relegation, which would cost the team A LOT more.

After all, it’s not like there isn’t a recent history of relegation for Newcastle. Right?

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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