According to gaffer Jose Mourinho, Diego Costa will start Chelsea’s meaningless Champions League gameweek six fixture at home to Sporting, with the Blues already through to the knockout stages as Group G winners.
This piece of news makes the former Atletico Madrid man a fine candidate to bag the opener against Os Leoes at 3/1, but there are a few compelling reasons as to why Costa shouldn’t even be in the west Londoners’ squad.
With three crucial-but-winnable fixtures coming up domestically, there’s no need for the Special One to risk Costa in a dead rubber.
Costa’s services will be required in spades between now and Christmas Day, with Chelsea set to take on Hull and Stoke in the Premier League, and Derby in the Capital One Cup, before the man in the big red suit hits the skies.
Lest we forget, over half of the Spa-zilian’s 11 strikes for the Blues have come against sides currently in the Premier League’s bottom half, and he hasn’t yet hit the mark for his new club in Europe.
Loic Remy’s spread of 2014/15 goals strongly suggests that he is the striker in need of game-time.
If Costa’s dodgy hamstrings end up ruling out the La Seleccion striker for a significant period of time, Mourinho will be left with 36-year-old Didier Drogba, who surely cannot be relied upon to play 180 minutes per week with any regularity, and a half-cooked Remy to make up the shortfall.
The former QPR man has made 11 appearances since signing on at Stamford Bridge over the summer, with goals coming in his third, eighth and 11th games, most recently when Chelsea hosted Tottenham a week ago.
Handing Remy successive home appearances, this time from the start, makes a pile of sense.
Mourinho is planning to send out a second-string side against Sporting, so there would be even less to gain from Costa’s presence up front.
The Blues gaffer insists that Costa needs to face Marco Silva’s men in order to gain match fitness, but with the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard, among others, set to be rested, surely his time would be better spent on the training ground?
Furthermore, having started five of his side’s past six games in all competitions, it’s difficult to see how a run-out with the likes of John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Mohamed Salah would help the 26-year-old.