Chelsea captain Gary Cahill believes Diego Costa is now a “smarter player” after he helped fire the club clear at the top of the Premier League.
Costa, 28, scored Chelsea’s first goal in the club’s 3-1 win at title rivals Manchester City on Saturday, taking his goal tally for the season to 11 — level with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez as the Premier League’s top scorer — and he also has five assists to his name.
Just as noteworthy has been the Spain international’s vast improvement in temperament under Antonio Conte.
After picking up four bookings in the first six league games of the season, Costa has not been booked since — though he will remain on the brink of a one-game ban until the amnesty for five yellow cards at the end of the calendar year.
“I think we are seeing more composure from Diego this season,” Cahill told The Guardian after the win at the Etihad. “I know everyone thinks he is an angry guy but you can see a smarter player now.
“We were starved of the ball in the first half and so was he, and in the last few years maybe he gets frustrated at that. But this time he kept his cool and got more involved in the second half and when he does that he is one of the best going.
“He has been fantastic this season, showing maturity and still banging the goals in. He’s on fire at the minute and I hope it continues.”
The win, coupled with Liverpool’s defeat at Bournemouth, opened up a three point lead for Chelsea at the top of the table.
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