Gary Cahill believes Diego Costa is now just as important to Chelsea’s chances of winning silverware as Didier Drogba used to be.
Costa scored the decisive strike in Chelsea’s 1-0 win over West Brom to take his tally for the season to 12 League goals in just 15 matches.
Drogba won 12 major trophies, including the Champions League, during his nine years at the club (2004-12, 2014-15) and was voted the club’s greatest-ever player by the fans in a poll four years ago.
Chelsea supporters feared he was irreplaceable but Cahill believes Costa, who joined from Atletico Madrid for £32million in 2014, is matching Drogba’s high standards.
Cahill has played with both at Chelsea and told Standard Sport: “Didier was a huge figure goal-scoring wise and also with his personality on and off the pitch.
“You need strikers like that and Diego has fitted in nicely. Since he’s been at the club he’s scored goals but this season he’s on fire.
“Are the fans starting to love him like they loved Didier? Yes of course because he is banging goals in every week. He is winning us matches.
“At this moment he is right up there among the best in the world. The statistics don’t lie.”
Cahill also feels Costa is leading by example because of his improved disciplinary record, as he has gone 10 successive matches without picking up a yellow card.
He added: “He is not getting as frustrated as he used to. He is channelling [his energy] in the right direction now and is being patient.
“I haven’t had to have a word with him about it, I think that’s something he has added to his game this season.”
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