Chelsea's Diego Costa is embraced by manager Antonio Conte.
Chelsea's Diego Costa is embraced by manager Antonio Conte. John Walton

Costa the key to stopping Chelsea

FORMER England international Stuart Pearce says Manchester City must stop Chelsea striker Diego Costa if it is to win tonight's English Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Manchester City defender believes the Spanish international is up there with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the best in the game.

"For me, he's got everything. The only thing he hasn't got is the ability to go past somebody one-on-one like a Messi or Ronaldo,” Pearce told the Daily Express.

"Apart from that he's got a great work ethic for the team, he's got a great eye for a goal, he links play, his movement's clever.

"He's got everything, he is so key for Chelsea.”

Costa has netted 10 goals this season - a tally matched only by City's Sergio Aguero - and their firepower could play a big part in deciding tonight's result.

The Blues have won their past seven league games and are sitting on top of the table, one point above City.

Liverpool, which travels to Bournemouth tomorrow night, are also just one point behind Chelsea.