We hope we’re wrong, we really do. But the writing on the wall is ominous for Diego Costa & Zlatan Ibrahimovic tonight.
On paper, it should be a real battle of skill, patience and talent. Two teams with talismanic front men. Both controversial figures. Both ruthlessly efficient and capable of magic. But in all likelihood, the two big names we want to see on the scoreline won’t be scoring tonight. And here’s why.
Diego Costa hasn’t figured out Europe with Chelsea….yet
The Spaniard has cracked the Premier League. That’s actually a massive understatement. He’s dominated the league. or at least he was dominating it. Having only scored once since mid-January when he bagged a brace against Swansea. Since then it’s been all quiet for Costa. Suspensions have done nothing to help his form either. We all know the goals will return. But even when he was scoring, Europe was eluding the Premier League newcomer.
Diego Costa has no goals in the FA Cup or Champions League. Outside of those 17 Premier League goals he’s failed to find the net elsewhere. Will the nine hours of football without a goal extend to ten and a half after tonight? It certainly looks that way.
Jose Mourinho seems to have figured out Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Perhaps it’s because they are so similar that it was easy for Jose to figure Zlatan out? Both have big egos, huge egos in fact. Both are incredibly gifted individuals and of course both like to let everyone know that. Whatever it is, in the battle between master tactician and master striker, Mourinho is winning.
They’ve faced each other seven times in their careers and Zlatan has nothing to show for it. No goals and no assists. In fact against Mourinho-managed sides, Ibrahimovic registers a lower shots per game (1.4) and lower chances created per game (0.6) than he usually does. Whatever Achilles heel Jose has uncovered, he won’t stop putting pressure on it tonight.
Chelsea and Paris St. Germain are both pretty good at not conceding goals
Chelsea have the best defensive record in the Premier League. 27 games played and only 22 goals conceded. that works out at an average of only 0.81 goals allowed per game. PSG meanwhile are joint third for least goals allowed in Ligue 1. And while there is obviously a gap in class between both domestic leagues, a goals allowed per game average of 0.85 is impressive all the same. The difference really is marginal.
Marginal that difference may be, it could be THE difference tonight. It’ll be a tight match. The cards are stacked heavily in Chelsea’s favour but one thing seems depressingly obvious. It could be a quiet night for the two main men.
But we’re not content with that outcome. So to pre-empt this potential reality, here’s a feast of goals and skill from both players so far this season. You’re welcome.