Diego Costa ends six-year wait for Premier League goal, but does he deserve a new Wolves contract?

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Diego Costa celebrates scoring his first goal against Brentford – Diego Costa ends a six-year Premier League goal wait – but does he deserve a new Wolves contract?  -PA/Barrington Coombs

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Diego Costa celebrates scoring his first goal against Brentford – Diego Costa ends a six-year Premier League goal wait – but does he deserve a new Wolves contract? -PA/Barrington Coombs

Diego Costa’s six-year wait for a Premier League goal is finally over after his 27th-minute strike put Wolves on the way to a 2-0 win over Brentford on Saturday, but his future remains uncertain with his contract expired at the end of the season.

The former Chelsea striker Costa, 34, answered then-manager Bruno Lage’s emergency call in September last year by returning to the Premier League, but with his current contract due to expire in the summer no decision will be made on an extension until safety is ensured.

It is unlikely he will be long in coming, after a victory which was completed by substitute Hwang Hee-chan’s second-half goal. He took Julen Lopetegui’s side to seven points of relegation with seven games to go.

So has Costa done enough to justify giving the club a second season?

Contributions to goals

One goal in 19 games is hardly impressive. His previous Premier League goal came in May 2017 when both he and Chelsea were at their peak. Brentford’s goal was the first for any club since scoring for Atletico Mineiro against Corinthians in his native Brazil on 16 November 2021.

Costa has contributed zero assists to Wolves’ cause and has as many red cards as goals, having been sent off in his sixth Wolves appearance, at Brentford. The simple stats state that Lopetegui should get rid of.

Fear factor

Costa contributes in more ways than goals and assists, according to midfielder Mario Lemina. “The defenders, the opponent, they’re afraid of him,” he said. “He’s a great character and they already know what he’s done. It’s really important for us to feel that there’s a striker who makes the defense feel under pressure.”

“You can’t buy his spirit: either you have it or you don’t”, was Lopetegui’s verdict. There is no doubt that the man they call “The Beast” is a warrior.

Team morale

Lemina has revealed that the man with two Premier League winning medals has great influence both on and off the pitch.

“He gives us his experience every time he’s on the pitch and talks to us a lot,” he said. “He is working very hard and putting all the players under pressure during training.

“He’s also a funny character, a great joker. He puts ice baths on you and various crazy things. My jacket, he put shampoo in it, it was funny.”

Sometimes, off-the-field contributions to team unity can prove to be as productive as goals and assists.

Alternative options

There is no doubt that Lopetegui will be looking to bring in a high-profile striker who is in his prime once the 2022-23 season is over.

But given that Raul Jimenez – a man regarded by fans as a modern Molineux great – is out of favor and due to leave on a one-year contract, it means there will be room for Costa to be the big name at least in reserve.

“I’m not a playmaker, president or coach, but he’s a huge player for us,” Lemina said of the prospect of a contract extension for Costa.

Costa ends almost six-year wait for goal as Wolves stun Brentford

By Jon West at Molineux

Diego Costa celebrated a long-awaited first goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers before Hwang Hee-chan’s crucial goal enabled Julen Lopetegui’s side to steer clear of relegation danger.

He took the hosts to 34 points, seven clear of third bottom Nottingham Forest, while a third successive defeat dashed Brentford’s European qualification hopes.

Brentford could have opened the scoring four minutes before Costa’s goal with Josh Dasilva guilty of a nasty mistake.

Ivan Toney’s shot was deflected into its path by a defender, but the Brentford midfielder could only manage to hit goalkeeper Jose Sa and the crossbar from close range.

The moment Wolves fans feared would never come came in the 27th minute from a move initiated by Costa himself.

The former Spain striker, signed on a free agent basis by previous manager Bruno Lage in September last year, served Toti down the left wing and came into the box to receive the defender’s pass.

His first touch was rusty but luck favored the 34-year-old as Christian Norgaard whipped out a boot and could only set up Costa for a low shot past Raya.

It was his first Premier League goal since 21 May 2017 – 2,155 days ago – and first since scoring for Atletico Mineiro against Corinthians in his native Brazil on 16 November 2021.

Brentford were lucky when Raya appeared to clear Toti just inside the box from a terrible back pass early in the second half.

Referee Paul Tierney however said no penalty and Var Stuart Attwell confirmed the call. Attwell had been the referee in charge at Tottenham last week when Brighton received an apology from PGMOL for failing to award an obvious penalty.

The win was confirmed in the 69th minute when another Brentford man inadvertently scored a goal.

Matheus Nunes overcame four challengers on his way from the right flank to the Brentford box. Ethan Pinnock stuck out a leg to cut the pass, but substitute Hwang sprinted to find the net.

Toney saw a shot deflected off the bar in stoppage time but it was too late for Brentford.

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