Former Chelsea defender Ken Monkou believes the Blues’ downfall this season has been partly contributed by Antonio Conte’s decision to offload Diego Costa. The Italian head coach had a bust-up with Costa midway through the previous campaign, and this eventually saw the Spaniard fall out-of-favour at the end of the season.
He said: “In any team you need a figurehead – a player who leads you in battle and creates problems for the opposition, and Costa was that player for Chelsea.He was Chelsea’s Didier Drogba or Zlatan Ibrahimovic – a player with a presence, charisma, and aura around him on the pitch. Costa, Drogba and Ibra are players that set themselves apart because of their stature. And if you have someone like that in your team you are already one up against the opposition.”
The Blues recruited Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid in order to succeed Costa upfront, but the Spaniard has been more of a hit and miss during his first season at the club. The two-time Champions League winner begun the campaign in a blistering fashion with six goals in six matches but he thereafter went through a lean patch, which has generated wide criticism.
Meanwhile, the turn of the year has brought little joy for the Blues faithful with just three wins in the Premier League, and this sees them with the genuine prospect of missing out on Champions League football. The Blues are currently 10 points behind both Liverpool and Spurs, who are third and fourth respectively, and their top-four fate depends on one of their rivals suffering a drastic dip in form.