Chelsea secured their third successive victory under Graham Potter as goals from Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Armando Broja secured a 3-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Welcome home, Diego
Diego Costa was back at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon for the first time in five years. The snarling, combative, aggressive and hugely talented forward spearheaded two Premier League title wins for Chelsea and a League Cup triumph under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte before leaving under a cloud for Atletico Madrid.
Yet there is no animosity held toward the 34-year-old by Chelsea supporters. Costa is remembered fondly, and there were cheers from the home fans inside Stamford Bridge when his name was read out prior to the clash with Wolves. And they only grew louder throughout the afternoon.
Costa was signed by Wolves last month, although it wasn’t exactly planned. A knee ligament injury to summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic left Wanderers a striker short, and despite Costa having not played a professional game in 2022, he was brought by the Premier League side.
It was clear during Chelsea’s 3-0 victory yesterday afternoon that Costa isn’t fully up to speed. The fact Wolves were incredibly poor in possession didn’t help, but there was a lack of sharpness to the former Spain international’s game, and his trademark hostility toward opponents was absent.
There was the merest flash in the opening period of the old Costa in the opening period; he half-heartedly bodychecked former teammate Cesar Azpilicueta as Wolves prepared to take a throw-in. But it wasn’t quite the Costa Chelsea supporters fondly remember. The fear factor has gone.
Costa lasted 57 minutes before being replaced. It was at that moment that those inside Stamford Bridge rose to their feet and serenaded the striker with his trademark chant – it was perhaps the loudest noise made by the home fans all afternoon.
There was an embrace with Azpilicueta and a handshake with Jorginho as Costa exited. He chose to do so in front of the West Stand, and that enabled him to walk around the pitch and earn adulation from three sides of the stadium. It felt a fitting farewell.