English Premiership

Costa's fitness key to Chelsea's title defence

2015-08-04 17:15
Diego Costa (AP)

London - Chelsea regained the Premier League trophy with such ease that Jose Mourinho felt his team's achievement did not get the recognition it deserved.

But as rival fans directed "boring" chants at Chelsea last season, their own teams were doing little to inject excitement in the pursuit of the title. From the first weekend of the season Chelsea was on top and stayed there until collecting the trophy for the first time in five years.

Surely it cannot be as straight-forward for Chelsea again?

That is likely to depend on how long striker Diego Costa stays injury-free and whether newcomer Radamel Falcao is more prolific in front of goal than during his insipid season at Manchester United.

The Colombia forward is getting a second shot at proving himself in the Premier League on loan from Monaco as he fills the void left by Didier Drogba's departure.

"Very good player," is captain John Terry's assessment of Falcao.

"Playing against him last season was excellent. His movement, his strength, his finishing's been different class.

"Because he came a little bit late maybe the fitness may take a little bit longer, but he's looking sharp already and it's great to have him here."

Falcao should be getting a chance to reprise his strike partnership with Costa from their Atletico Madrid days, if the Spain international's hamstrings are more durable in 2015/16.

"Last season I had to live and contend with injuries," said Costa, who managed to score 20 goals in the 24 Premier League games he played in his first season at Chelsea.

"But I've worked to prevent it occurring. I have to be careful this season so I can do the best possible."

Chelsea kicks off their title defence at home on Saturday against Swansea at 18:30.

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