Ever since Luis Suarez’s departure from Liverpool to Barcelona, there has been something of a void left, with no one seemingly able to stake a claim as the Premier League’s unequivocal and unrivaled best striker.
Several have shown hints of that ability, but no one has actually been consistently remarkable quite like Suarez was, and still is.
However, this season something has changed. There are two frontrunners for the label and interestingly enough both are engrossed in the title race too.
Sergio Aguero has scored 33 goals in his last 34 Premier League games for #MCFC
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) November 26, 2016
Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa are both locked on 10 goals each and lead the way in the scoring charts, while their respective teams Manchester City and Chelsea are both right up there in the Premier League standings.
Aguero has regularly appeared close to Suarez’s level, but so often fitness issues hold him back and disrupt his flow, otherwise the Argentinian surely would have claimed the mantle for himself long ago.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 28, 2016
So far this season he has largely been consistent at club level – less so for Argentina – and his 10 goals from 10 starts is a fine record and has been crucial – City’s next highest scorer in the league is Raheem Sterling with four.
But on the other side of the coin, Costa is already only two goals behind his total tally for last season and has, by all accounts, been resurgent and back to his brutal best, while he seems to have found the perfect balance between irritating pest and brainless ogre. He’s getting angry, but harnessing that attitude well.
Costa also has four assists to his name, meaning he has had a hand in a goal every 82 minutes so far this term, while Aguero (10 goals, 0 assists) has had such a contribution every 92 minutes.
GOAL Chelsea 2-1 Spurs (51 mins). Diego Costa does well to get to the byline & pick out Moses, who makes no mistake with the finish #CHETOT
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 26, 2016
The Spain international actually comes out on top in many of their duels so far this season. According to Opta, Costa’s shot accuracy of 67% is 8% better than Aguero’s, while the former also has a significantly better conversion rate.
Costa has dispatched 24% of his chances so far, compared to Aguero’s 18% conversion rate.
Under eccentric touchline maniac Antonio Conte, Costa has matured into a leader, shaking off his potential liability tag and becoming a major team player, even when he isn’t playing especially well.
Lean, but still just as powerful, Costa has stepped things up and appears significantly more under control without relinquishing any of the aggression which has often made him so effective.
That presence coupled with the leader characteristics he is now exhibiting provide further evidence of why he is setting himself above Aguero, who retains a somewhat childlike innocence.
14 – Diego Costa has been involved in more goals than any other PL player this season (10 goals, 4 assists). Force.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 26, 2016
Let’s not forget, both are brilliant players and this duel still has a long way to run. But given the importance Conte has placed on Costa and Aguero’s tendency to pick up niggling injuries, the smart money is on the Incredible Sulk this season.