After last season, when Chelsea strikers failed to produce much of … well, anything, really, José Mourinho must have been thrilled to secure the signing of Diego Costa. The 25-year-old scored 27 goals in 35 La Liga appearances for Atlético Madrid last season, and added an additional eight as Atléti made their way to the final.
But Costa picked up an injury last May, reducing him to a mere 15 minutes of play against Barcelona in Atlético’s title-deciding match. He then managed just nine minutes against rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Costa still went to Brazil for the World Cup, but with Spain’s system not designed to make the best use out of the striker, it was tough to see just how well he’d recovered.
The Chelsea manager has no worries, however. Mourinho told Sky Sports:
He’s a great addition for us. “He is a fantastic player. Technically he is very, very good. That’s why lots of the players are so happy and so surprised, because his quality is even higher than what they expect.
He’s so strong physically and gives so much effort during matches. He’s a great addition for us. He’s a fantastic player. When somebody sees him play the first thing that gets into their eyes is exactly that, the capacity to work hard for the team.
Mourinho is also excited by another summer signing, Cesc Fàbregas, about whom he said, “I see him as somebody who thinks football faster than the majority of the players. He is the kind of player we need in our midfield to bring us to a different dimension.”
Thoughts, Chelsea fans? Excited about these new additions to the Blues?
Three Premier League newcomers remain in close contention with one another after 12 weeks, one of which picked up another positive result today.
[ MORE: Congested PL schedule challenges the big boys ]
Brighton & Hove Albion earned a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the Amex Stadium on Monday after Jose Izquierdo’s persistence gave the home side the leveler in the 60th minute from Glenn Murray‘s clever pass inside the box.
The result made for Brighton’s sixth consecutive match unbeaten at home this season.
A back-and-forth first half saw the on-loan Chelsea defender give Stoke the lead heading into the halftime break after a disappointing spell of defending by Brighton allowed Zouma to finish of a corner kick.
Pascal Gross gave Brighton an equalizer one minute from halftime after Davy Propper had done superbly to create space for himself down the right wing.
The visitors struck in the 28th minute after Shaqiri delivered a perfect long ball into the path of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
The Cameroonian proceeded to control the pass beautifully from his Stoke teammate, before tucking his shot from close range into the near corner past Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan.
Brighton thought they had the chance to level the score prior to the equalizer when the hosts appeared to have a penalty appeal after Murray went down inside the Stoke area. However, referee Lee Mason opted against spot kick.
The two sides will both be in action on Saturday when Brighton travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United and Stoke takes on Crystal Palace.
It’s been a wild one thus far at the Amex Stadium, and we’ve still got 45 minutes left to play.
Stoke City holds a 2-1 advantage against newcomer Brighton & Hove Albion after Kurt Zouma gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of halftime.
[ MORE: West Brom fires manager Tony Pulis ]
Zouma headed home close range in first-half stoppage time to restore the Potters’ advantage, after Pascal Gross had equalized in the 44th minute for Brighton.
Stoke opened the scoring just prior to the half hour mark when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting finished off a stellar move that originated from a Xherdan Shaqiri long ball over the Brighton back line.
Brighton were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Glenn Murray went in late on a challenge against Stoke defender Kevin Wimmer.
Murray thought he had won himself a penalty kick minutes prior, but referee Lee Mason decided to continue play.
Unsurprisingly, one of Atlanta United’s biggest stars took home some hardware on Monday after a stellar first season in Major League Soccer.
[ MORE: Previewing the MLS conference finals ]
Atlanta attacker Miguel Almiron was named MLS Newcomer of the Year today, beating out Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic and teammate Josef Martinez for the honor.
Almiron, who joined Atlanta from Argentine side Lanus, netted nine goals and added 14 assists for the Eastern Conference squad in 2017 and helped guide the club to the MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing fifth in the East.
The 23-year-old received an 37.38% average of the vote for the award, which was compiled based on votes from a combination of media members, MLS players and executives. Nikolic finished second with 24.92 percent, while Martinez checked in at number three.
Chris Hughton looks to lead his Brighton and Hove Albion to a fifth-straight result as the Gulls welcome Stoke City to the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE
The Gulls have won two and drawn two, powered by goals from Glenn Murray and the playmaking of Pascal Gross.
Stoke’s 3-4-1-2 has Ramadan Sobhi, Eric Choupo-Moting, and Xherdan Shaqiri attacking the final third.
Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Stephens, Propper, Knockaert, Izquierdo, Gross, Murray. Subs: Krul, Hemed, Goldson, Schelotto, Suttner, Brown.
Stoke City: Grant; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Ramadan; Choupo-Moting. Subs: Haugaard; Berahino, Jese, Afellay, Martins Indi, Adam, Crouch.