Chelsea vs Aston Villa match report: Diego Costa continues remarkable form in Jose Mourinho's 250th game in charge of the Blues

Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Chelsea may look in full health following another fine home win, but Jose Mourinho now wants to ensure Diego Costa reaches the same condition.

The Portuguese called for Spain to rest the striker for the October internationals away to Slovakia and Luxembourg, stating that the full 15 days off would ensure Costa is finally more readily able to play two games a week for club and country. The 25-year-old has struggled with his hamstring since May, and Mourinho feels he merely needs an extra period of rest without a match.

“I think if he doesn’t go to the national team, and stays here for 15 days on treatment, recovering and making the muscle and the other areas around the muscle stronger, he has the perfect chance to be top for Chelsea and top for the national team.

“If he doesn’t have this period, he will always play one game, the other one is in trouble. The muscle will be tight, the muscle [will be susceptible] to a rupture.”

Mourinho said he would not expressly ask Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque to rest the player, as he did not feel that was proper.

“I can’t. I don’t do that, and don’t think I should. The players, from the moment they are selected for the national team, belong to them. Everything is in their hands and, from club, you have to respect decisions.”

Mourinho revealed Costa is barely training right now.

“He’s doing almost nothing. He’s just resting and recovering from the tight muscle he has every time he accumulates fatigue.”

Asked whether Costa would start away to Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday, Mourinho said “I want to”.

Chelsea certainly started well against Aston Villa, and Costa got his usual clinical finish to score, and make it a personal eight goals in six games.

Any element of doubt here was dismissed within eight minutes, as Chelsea took the lead. Willian streaked down the right, before finding space and pummelling a shot at Brad Guzan. The goalkeeper managed to parry it away but only to Oscar, who slid the ball between Philippe Senderos’s legs.

The scorer was influential in other ways. Despite Villa flooding the midfield in a manner that caused Chelsea - and specifically Cesc Fabregas - problems in previous games this season, Oscar shuttled brilliantly between there and attack to shore the gap. Mourinho was impressed.

“I think he needs this confidence that comes with matches,” the Portuguese said. “His performance was good. He was in important areas in our game. The connection between him and [Nemanja] Matic was good. The connection between him and the attacking players was good.

As such, it quickly developed into one of those very typical Mourinho home wins, even if there was more spark in attack and a little bit more looseness in defence. That back-line still has some work to do, in spite of the eventual clean sheet. They certainly didn’t display the old assurance at set-pieces on 23 minutes, when Aly Cissokho poked just wide from an effective free shot after a corner.

Despite their overall conservatism, Villa looked a little dangerous on the break, which is also something that has been a common problem for Chelsea so far this season. A common sight has been Branislav Ivanovic chasing back to try and cover an acre of space left in behind, and it was much the same just after half-time here, when Andreas Weimann suddenly released Gabriel Agbonlahor.

The England winger took his touch too far wide, however, and Chelsea were able to re-adjust. The home side soon re-asserted their authority, too, as Costa returned to his best. On 58 minutes, the Spaniard scored his first goal in three games - a relative drought given his sensational start to the season.

This was a typically tidy goal. First, Willian and Eden Hazard interchanged nicely on the left, before cutting the ball back for Cesar Azpilicueta. He curled the ball in, for Costa to plunder a header past Guzan.

Willian had been brilliant throughout the game and eventually got the goal he deserved. After another Chelsea siege on 79 minutes, the ball ricocheted around the box, with Cissokho deflecting towards his own net. Willian made sure, poking the ball in from close range.

The most ominous aspect is that Mourinho still does not think they’re close to their best.

“We are fine, playing well, scoring goals, we are happy,” Mourinho said, although he scotched suggestions Chelsea are already in a commanding position.

“I think nobody is convinced Chelsea is going to keep this run for 10, 15 matches, getting positive results. We know this Premier League. Everyone knows it’s possible for top teams to lose points.

“We are not perfect. We have a lot to improve in every area of our game but we are playing well.”

A fully fit Costa would greatly help.

LINE-UPS:

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois 7; Ivanovic 7, Cahill 7, Terry 7, Azpilicueta 8; Matic 7, Fabregas 7; Willian 8, Oscar 8 (Mikel 77; 6), Hazard 7 (Schurrle 68; 6); Costa 7 (Remy 79; 6)

Aston Villa (4-5-1): Guzan 6; Hutton 5, Senderos 5, Baker 5, Cissokho 6; Richardson 6 (Bent 67; 5), Cleverley 5, Westwood 5, Delph 5, Weimann 6 (N’Zogbia 67; 6); Agbonlahor 6

Referee: Phil Dowd

Match rating: 6/10

Man of the match: Oscar

Comments