Five striking alternatives for Chelsea to cover Diego Costa ban
Following the news that Chelsea striker Diego Costa shall serve a three-match suspension after being charged and convicted of violent conduct by the FA after his spat during the 2-0 Premier League against Arsenal, it may pose Blues boss Jose Mourinho with something of a selection headache.
Brazil-born Spain striker Costa has already missed the Capital One Cup tie with Walsall in midweek, but must also sit out league outings against Newcastle United and Southampton thereafter. Coral football experts thus assess the striking alternatives open to Chelsea, who are 7/1 to defend their domestic title.
Colombia hitman Falcao has not looked the same player since a career-threatening knee injury in January 2014 when at Monaco. Mourinho previously stated his desire to help the former Manchester United loan flop rebuild his career after a disappointing stint at Old Trafford, and this is actually the perfect opportunity.
Lethal and arguably best in the world in his pomp, if Falcao can rediscover the form and fitness should he be backed by the Blues boss to lead the line in Costa’s absence, then the Stamford Bridge side have a real weapon.
By his own high standards, Belgium sensation Hazard is not really living up to his billing this term with just one goal and an assist from eight outings across all competitions. Might Mourinho consider a tactical switch that brings him infield from the left flank?
When Chelsea have been short up top before, Hazard has operated as a false nine without much success. It seems opposition defenders could’ve found him out, cutting inside from wide positions, so at least the two-time Blues player of the year would give them something different to think about.
If Chelsea want to put an unknown quantity up against opponents, then Brazilian teenager Kenedy is well worth considering. He followed up two sub appearances against Crystal Palace and Everton with a goal and assist on his full debut against Walsall.
The Blues hierarchy sanctioned bringing Kenedy over from Fluminense in his homeland at such a young age, so they must think highly of him, and Mourinho has already shown he’s willing to use the 19-year-old talent. A second Chelsea start at Newcastle would be very interesting, and Kenedy is a nifty 9/4 to net again anytime.
Costa’s Spain teammate Pedro is another, like usual winger Hazard, who is capable of deputising up top. His runs in-behind would offer a different dimension to the Blues’ forward play, as Pedro showed when coming off the bench at Walsall to round off the scoring and he is 6/1 to net last again.
The burden of delivering should not faze Pedro, who previously played for all-conquering Barcelona, winning multiple trophies as part of a talented attack alongside South American soccer stars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. His impact in west London could be akin to Alexis Sanchez’s across the capital at Arsenal, if freed up from defensive responsibilities by Mourinho.
French forward Remy has never really managed to establish himself at Chelsea, but still boasts a decent return of 10 goals in 31 outings for the club. Much like Falcao above, this could be the opening he is looking for.
Scoring against old club Newcastle would make major headlines, especially as the Toon Army were bitterly disappointed to see their side miss out on his permanent signature following an impressive loan with the Magpies under Alan Pardew in 2013/14. Remy is a 5/1 shot to score first at St James’ Park.