Pablo Dani Osvaldo‘s English soccer career has started slowly, but defenders and fans should watch out if he’s actually rounding into form.
Southampton striker Osvaldo scored an impressive solo goal in his team’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday. The 27-year-old struck in the 69th minute to tie the score.
Osvaldo dribbled past Vincent Kompany before delicately curling his shot around two defenders (Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis) and City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon from around 12 yards out.
The eye-catching goal suggests Osvaldo’s form and confidence are improving. After scoring just one goal in his first 12 league games, the Argentina-born Italian has scored twice in the last four days. He is showing why Southampton paid Roma £15 million ($24.5 million) to sign him last August by helping his new team end a three-game losing streak amid an injury crisis.
Fans and pundits questioned his ability in October, as rumors saying he was having problems adapting to England and English soccer spread, but Southampton winger Jay Rodriguez told Sky Sports that he and his teammates have never doubted Osvaldo’s quality.
“Dani has got a great finish on him,” Rodriguez said. “He shows it in training and proved that he can do it in a game.
“He is really good and obviously showed it there. He is an unbelievable talent and a great person as well. It is always nice to work off him and will hopefully help me improve.”
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Osvaldo can reproduce the form that saw him score 16 goals in Serie A (Italian first division) last season and draw interest from Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur and Benfica.
“There is no doubt it is going to be a massive boost for his confidence,” Pochettino told Sky Sports. “We have always said that the adaptation to this league takes time, but I think today he showed that he can do amazingly well, that he has great talent and that his adaptation is coming along just fine.”
Southampton needs Osvaldo to keep firing during what will prove to be a decisive month of December. The Saints face Newcastle, Tottenham, Everton and Chelsea — all direct rivals for a top-six finish — between now and Jan. 1. If he scores more goals like this, he just might become one of the saintliest of Southampton’s Saints.
See Osvaldo’s goal against Manchester City below.
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