[Stats] The Remarkable Turnaround in Diego Costa’s Behaviour

Diego Costa quickly earned a reputation in England for being a fiery and unpredictable player shortly after joining Chelsea in 2014.  Or ‘a cheat’ as many non-Chelsea supporters referred to him as.

The Brazilian-born Spanish international arrived in the Premier League off the back of his first break out season in professional football, scoring 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances to help Atlético Madrid cause a huge shock in winning the Spanish title.  He’d also helped them reach the UEFA Champions League final that season too but was substituted after only nine minutes due to a hamstring injury picked up a week early.

That same hamstring injury appeared to slow Costa down at the 2014 World Cup too where defending champions Spain were eliminated after their first two group games.

Diego Costa hit the ground running in his debut Premier League season, scoring a remarkable nine goals in his first seven matches with only Manchester City shutting him out during that run.

In all, he ended the season with 20 goals in 26 league appearances.  But he’d missed 12 games of the season.  Four of those came through suspension and the remaining eight were two different injury spells – one his hamstring and the other his thigh.  Chelsea were Premier League champions.

Move forward to last season and nothing worked for Chelsea.  José Mourinho couldn’t get anything right, the defence that had been so solid the season before had fallen apart and Eden Hazard had been a shadow of the PFA Player of the Season.

Diego Costa scored 12 goals in his 28 Premier League appearances as Chelsea’s sole striker and picked up eight yellow cards in the process.  A red card in the FA Cup loss to Everton also meant he served a three-man ban in the league.  Of the 10 league matches he missed last season, six were through suspension.

Chelsea’s failure to qualify for Europe led to Costa being linked strongly with a return to Atlético Madrid over the summer but incoming manager Antonio Conte refused to sell.

Atléti are currently down in sixth place in La Liga, some 12 points off rivals Real Madrid, whilst Chelsea head into today’s match at Crystal Palace six points clear of the back.  Perhaps Costa is relieved Conte didn’t want to sell him.

What’s more, the 28-year-old looks like a changed man ever since Antonio Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation.  The striker had opened the season with four yellow cards in Chelsea’s opening six league games – one short of a suspension.  During that run the Blues had taken only 10 points.

Then came the switch in tactics.  In those following 10 games Chelsea have taken maximum points, Diego Costa has been involved in 11 goals (7 goals, 4 assists) and he hasn’t picked up a single yellow card.  If he avoids a booking in Chelsea’s next three games his four previous will be wiped for the second half of the season and he doesn’t have to fear about a suspension looming over his head.

The stats below make compelling reading:

Season Games Played Goals Assists Shots per Game Chances Created Per Game Fouls per Game Yellow Cards Fouled per Game
2016-17 16 12 5 2.9 1.8 0.9 4 2.8
2015-16 28 12 6 2.4 1.1 1.5 8 1.8
2014-15 26 20 3 2.9 1.6 1.3 8 1

Diego Costa is on course to score more goals than he has in either of his previous two seasons, one assist shy of his personal best already and is committing fewer fouls per game than in his previous two seasons.  What’s more interesting is that he is controlling his temper because he’s actually being fouled a lot more than he is used to.

20 Stats from Premier League Matchday 16 ft. Diego Costa & Liverpool

1 – Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Middlesbrough ended a seven-game sequence at the Riverside Stadium without a victory (D4, L3).

2 – West Brom’s Salomón Rondón became only the second player to score a hat-trick of headers in the Premier League game (after Everton’s Duncan Ferguson in 1997).

3 – Chelsea have secured 10 consecutive Premier League wins for a third occasion – more than any other side.

4 – Chelsea’s 1-0 victory at Sunderland guarantees they will be top of the table on Christmas Day.  The four previous times Chelsea have won the title they were top on Christmas Day.

8 – Burnley have now failed to score in eight of their 16 Premier League games this season – more than any other side.

11 – Everton have recovered more points from losing positions this season.

12 – Adam Lallana has now had a hand in 12 goals in his 14 Premier League goals this season (6 goals, 6 assists).

13 – Antonio Conte is only the second manager in Premier League history to have won 13 of his opening 16 games (after John Gregory at Aston Villa in 1998).

13 – Middlesbrough have scored a league-low 13 goals so far this season.

15 – Manchester United are unbeaten in all 15 Premier League games versus Crystal Palace (W12, D3).

19 – Leicester City have now conceded more goals in eight away matches (19) as they did in all 19 away games last season (18 goals).

21 – Crystal Palace have kept just one clean sheet in their past 21 Premier League game under Alan Pardew.

40 – Chelsea have reached 40 points after only 16 games this season – it took the Blues 29 games to reach this tally last season.

40 – Liverpool have scored 40 goals in their first 16 games in a single Premier League season for the first time in their history.

41 – Middlesbrough have produced a league-low 41 shots on target this season.

71% – Hull City have now failed to score in 12 of their last 17 Premier League games in London.

80% – Watford have lost eight of their 10 Premier League games on a Wednesday (W0, D2).

86% – Six of the last seven teams to be top at Christmas have gone on to win the Premier League.  Chelsea have secured top spot at Christmas this season.

200 – Leicester’s 1-0 loss at Bournemouth was Claudio Ranieri’s 200th as a manager in the Premier League (146 with Chelsea, 54 with Leicester).

889′ – Diego Costa has now gone 889 minutes of Premier League action since he last picked up a booking.  The Spaniard has been one yellow card away from a suspension since the sixth game of the season.

20 Stats from Premier League Matchday 15 ft. Diego Costa & Watford

1 – Jamie Vardy scored his first-ever Premier League hat-trick as Leicester City beat Manchester City 4-2 at the King Power Stadium.

2 – Manchester City have kept just two clean sheets in 15 Premier League games under Pep Guardiola.

5 – All five of Fernando Llorente’s Premier League goals have come at the Liberty Stadium.

6 – Arsenal have seen a league high six goals from substitutes this season.

8 – There were home wins for eight clubs this season whilst all 10 went unbeaten (W8, D2, L0).

9 – Chelsea have won nine consecutive Premier League matches for a fifth time – more than any other club in the competition’s history.

9 – Nine players have received a card for a foul on Diego Costa this season – more than any other player.

11 – Liverpool and Watford and have had a joint-league high 11 different goalscorers this season.

12 – West Ham have dropped more points from winning positions than any other club so far this season.

12 – Diego Costa has matched last season’s goal tally after only 15 goals this season.  The Chelsea striker scored the only goal in their 1-0 win over West Brom.

26 – Watford have conceded six more goals than any other side currently in the top 10 (Liverpool on 20).

36 – There have been 36 goals in the past seven Premier League games featuring Crystal Palace.

76% – Romelu Lukaku has now scored against 22 of the 29 different Premier League sides he has faced.

89% – Claudio Ranieri has now won eight of his nine Premier League matches versus Manchester City (D1, L0).

93% – Stoke City have converted 14 of their last 15 penalties in the Premier League.

94% – Burnley have collected 16 of their 17 points at Turf Moor so far this season.

100% – Following Stoke City’s 3-1 loss at the Emirates Mark Hughes has lost all 10 games as a visiting manager at Arsenal.

300 – Alan Pardew has now taken charge of 300 Premier League games as a manager (W108, D63, L129).

799′ – Diego Costa has now gone 799 minutes since he last picked up a yellow card in the Premier League.

2,414 – Watford’s Stefano Okaka scored his first Premier League goal in 2,414 days.  His previous goal came in May 2010 for Fulham against West Ham United.

20 Stats from Premier League Matchday 14 ft Jermain Defoe & Bournemouth

2 – Manchester City have kept just two clean sheets in their 14 Premier League matches under Pep Guardiola.

2 – Bournemouth avoided defeat after trailing by a two-goal margin for the first time in the Premier League.

3 – Zlatan Ibrahimović scored his third goal from outside the penalty area this season – tied most with Philippe Coutinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.

3 – Bournemouth’s Ryan Fraser became the third Premier League player this season to score and assist in the same game as a substitute ( after Shaun Maloney and Robert Snodgrass).

3 – Crystal Palace scored as many goals in 90 minutes versus Southampton on Saturday as they had in their previous six games combined versus the Saints.

4 – Jürgen Klopp has now seen his side drop points four times after his side have been two goals in front (44 games).

6 – West Brom’s Matt Phillips has been involved in six goals in his last four Premier League games (3 goals, 3 assists).

7 – Leicester City have taken only one point from their first seven away games this season.

8 – Hull City have failed to win any of their last eight Monday night Premier League games (D3, L5).

9 – Everton have won only one of their last nine Premier League games (D4, L4).

12 – Swansea City are winless in all 12 Premier League matches versus Tottenham Hotspur (D2, L10).

13% – Manchester United have won only one of their last eight Premier League games (D6, L1).

14′ – There were 14 minutes and 29 seconds between the first and third goals of Alexis Sánchez’s hat-trick at the London Stadium.

18 – Leicester City have now conceded as many goals in seven away games as they did in all 19 away games last season.

19 – Liverpool have scored 19 goals in the first-half of matches this season – three more than any other side.

21 – Harry Kane has scored 21 goals in 28 Premier League appearances in 2016.

24 – Jermain Defoe has now scored 24 Premier League goals in the month of December – only Alan Shearer (39), Robbie Fowler (33) and Wayne Rooney (31) have netted more.

90% – Leighton Baines has now scored 17 of his 19 penalties in the Premier League.

91 – Burnley have allowed opponents more shots on target on their goal than any other side so far this season.

100% – Tottenham have won six out of six Premier League games versus Swansea City at White Hart Lane following Saturday’s 5-0 thumping.

20 Stats from Premier League Matchday 13 ft. Olivier Giroud & Chelsea

1 – Callum Wilson’s penalty was Bournemouth’s first goal versus Arsenal in the club’s history.

2 – Stoke City are the only side to have benefitted from as many as two own goals in the Premier League this season.

4 – Olivier Giroud has been involved in more goals as a substitute than any other player so far this season (3 goals, 1 assist).

4 – Manchester United have drawn their last four home Premier League games.  The Red Devils came from behind to draw 1-1 against West Ham on Sunday.

4 – Crystal Palace became only the third team in Premier League history to score four goals away from home and lose as they went down 5-4 at Swansea City.

5 – Arsenal have scored with each of their last five efforts on target in the Premier League.

8 – Arsenal have conceded more goals at home (8) than they have away from home (4) so far this season.

9 – Swansea 5-4 Crystal Palace was the 21st game in Premier League history to see nine goals or more.

10 – West Ham have dropped more points from winning positions than any other club.

13 – Southampton have now kept 13 clean sheets versus Everton in Premier League history – more than they have versus any other side.

13 – Crystal Palace have conceded 13 goals from set pieces in the Premier League this season – more than any other team.

18 – Crystal Palace have now gone 18 consecutive games since their last clean sheet.

22 – Kevin De Bruyne has not tasted defeat in any of his 22 Premier League matches in 2016 (W14, D8).

22% – Sunderland had only 22% possession in their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool – only Burnley (20%) have had less possession in a single game this season – that too versus Jürgen Klopp’s side.

26 – Chelsea have beaten Tottenham 26 times in Premier League history – more than they have against any other side.

27 – Tottenham have failed to win any of their 25 trips to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era (D9, L16).

37 – Watford 0-1 Stoke City has seen more fouls than any other Premier League match so far this season.

90 – Diafra Sakho’s goal for West Ham after 90 seconds at Manchester United is the second-quickest from a visiting side at Old Trafford in the Premier League history (after Edin Džeko scored after 43 seconds for Manchester City in March 2014).

385 – Mathieu Debuchy made his first Premier League appearance in 385 days, since 8 November 2015.

601′ – Christian Eriksen ended Chelsea’s run of 601 minutes without conceding in the Premier League.