It may garner little sympathy from the rest of the footballing fraternity, but Vicente del Bosque has one major selection dilemma as Spain prepare to defend their European Championship crown.
With David Villa now definitely ruled out and Fernando Torres still needing ordinance survey maps to find goal, la Roja have been shorn of arguably their two first choice strikers – two halves of the deadly duo who combined so impressively in Austria and Switzerland four years ago.
If Spain are to replicate that success, they will need to find an attacking focal point to add an incisive edge to the pretty patterns the midfielders weave. Yet this mysterious midfield-linking, goal-getting frontman has still to be fully identified.
I’m going to be the latest to recklessly disregard form and fortune in blind faith that the Chelsea man has stepped into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and gone back to 2008 when he was good.
With Torres’s travails continuing, Valencia’s Roberto Soldado has stepped into the breach and after 27 goals with los Che and a hat-trick against Venezuela last time out for the national team, he’s in pole position to lead the line and should get first dibs to make an impression against Serbia on Saturday.
However, it is Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo, at 17/20 to score at any time, who leads the betting in bwin’s goalscorer market, just shading out Soldado into second at 19/20, with the artist formerly known as El Nino coming in third at 11/10.
The clash with Serbia in St Gallen is effectively a shoot-out for the strikers to make an impression, not only to guarantee their place in the squad but to cement a starting berth.
Anyone who helps themselves to a pair of goals should expect to get the nod and the pattern of anytime scorer is replicated here, with Negredo at 7/2 to score two or more, Soldado at 9/2 and Torres at 11/2. The other interesting name to pull out of the ‘two or more’ category is Manchester City schemer David Silva – who has been playing as a faux-striker for la Roja – who’s at 6/1 to score twice, 6/5 to score any time and 9/2 to score first.
But, after previously writing an article suggesting Torres as top scorer, I’m going to be the latest to recklessly disregard form and fortune in blind faith that the Chelsea man has stepped into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and gone back to 2008 when he was good.
Torres is unlikely to start against Serbia but a cameo is on the cards and he is 4/1 to score the last goal of the game, and that, folks, is where I’m going.
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Torres to score last @ 4/1
David Silva to score first @ 9/2
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