Diego Costa has not scored in nearly 11 hours - and Chelsea team-mate Cesc Fabregas has not recorded an assist in nine matches

Chelsea's star pair are struggling under a heavy workload

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Heading into the match at Stamford Bridge Diego Costa's only claim to a goal since 17 January was the cross that deflected in off Kyle Walker in the Capital One Cup final.

Yesterday, The Independent looked at Costa's form and how in recent weeks he is taking finding the target with less frequency and failing to have guilt-edged chances come his way.

As Chelsea crashed out of Europe it didn't get any better for the Spanish striker, who managed to test Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with just one of his six shots on target.

He was credited with an assist, but that came via a sliced shot that fortunately fell kindly for Gary Cahill to smash home - hardly a defence-splitting pass.

Costa didn't have one real sighting at goal, apart from the header which forced the Sirigu saved; it was a difficult chance and he probably would have been better served heading the ball back towards the lurking Didier Drogba, who was much better placed.

The striker was let down by his team-mates who failed to create any opportunities for him, Costa did work hard and kept a cool head before becoming involved in his usual personal battles with opponents.

But that was only after he'd had a definite penalty waved away by referee Bjorn Kuipers and been elbowed by David Luiz, another incident that went unpunished.

Costa should have had a penalty after he was fouled by Motta - but it wasn't given

It's now 649 minutes since Costa last found the net (we're not counting that League Cup final goal as his), 11 minutes shy of 11 hours.

After such a brilliant start in his first season at Chelsea, the fiery striker is starting to really slow down under a heavy workload.

Players who have never played in England usually take time to adjust but Costa was just the opposite, he hit the ground running with seven goals in his first four games but is starting to pay for a heavy workload.

It may be a cliche but it's also true that teams in Spain player at a slower pace and with much less intensity than their Premier League counterparts. He's started 29 matches this season, coming on in a further three, and has looked weary in the last couple of games; Mourinho always selecting him if fit.

Costa was later involved in several clashes with PSG players

Cesc Fabregas' struggles are the main source of Costa's disappointing form. The Spaniard recorded 15 assists in the first half of the season but he too hasn't set up a goal since that 17 January win against Swansea.

Fabregas is now without an assist in nine games and is in need of a rest

His run without an assist now extends to nine games and the midfielder has looked even worse than Costa. In his three-year spell at Barcelona, Fabregas was in and out of the team, often the first man subbed off and often coming on from the bench.

At Chelsea he is the fulcrum of the team and more often than not plays 90 minutes. Plenty of Barcelona matches are over by half-time while, as stated above, matches in the Premier League are truer tests.

After the Southampton game on Sunday, Chelsea face Hull,  Stoke and Queens Park Rangers, Jose Mourinho should take the opportunity to rest his star pair.