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Italians Abroad

Italian’s Abroad: Zaza scores again, while Conte’s struggles continue

Photo credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

The last round of matches was a mixed bag of results for those playing abroad this week. However, we simply cannot ignore one of Italy’s most in-form strikers at the moment (barring Immobile of course) in Simone Zaza.

Here is our latest edition of the ‘Italian’s Abroad’ column.

Man of the moment: Simone Zaza (Valencia – La Liga)

What a patch of form this man currently having.

Enjoying a resurgent year after his dismal time at West Ham, Zaza notched yet another goal making him one of the most consistent marksmen currently going around. Nine goals in nine games – no mean feat and he is just one of the many reasons Valencia are challenging Barcelona for the title after years of disappointment.

After winning 2-1 away at Alaves, rumour has it Gian Piero Ventura will swallow his pride and re-call Zaza for Italy’s crucial play-off matches with Sweden.

Yo-Yo Season: Antonio Conte (Chelsea- Premier League)

The former Juventus boss saw his team labour to a 1-0 win over Bournemouth and needed a 51st-minute winner from Hazard.

Chelsea looks like a shell of their former selves –  struggling to cope with the number of games coming their way. One positive from this game is the developing chemistry between Hazard and Morata who assisted his goal. However, the crushing 3-0 blow dealt by Roma last night in the Champions League certainly stings the morale.

Isolated: Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton- Premier League)

After his recent run of form, Gabbiadini struggled in the Saints match against Brighton in their 1-1 draw.

Isolated, but by no fault of his own, the former Napoli attacker was left up top to do most of the work as the Saints absorbed pressure whilst trying to maintain their lead. His best chance was flicked wide by the keeper.

Saints need to play to his strengths more; sending long balls to him simply doesn’t work effectively and isn’t part of his game. He is far more technical than that.

Starting once again: Roberto Soriano (Villarreal – La Liga)

Soriano started this important match for Villarreal against Atletico Madrid in a thrilling 1-1 draw between the sides.

The ex-Sampdoria midfielder replaced Samu Castillejo in the starting line up and was ironically subbed off for the same player after playing a solid 60 minutes to help ‘the Yellow Submarine’ tick over.

Consistent for the Hammers: Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham- Premier League)

Another solid outing turned in by the former Torino and Juventus centre-half for West Ham, and is something of an unsung hero.

Ogbonna features consistently for Slaven Bilic’s side and often is crucial for the team. He was called into action to stop Zaha and company. While not always successful, he still did the job.

Barely given a look: Matteo Darmian (Manchester United- Premier League)

Since Antonio Valencia has returned to form, Darmian has struggled to get much game time unless it’s in Europe or domestic cup competition.

Th 27-year old was brought on in the final few minutes of United’s crucial win over Spurs in the Premier League to help grind out a result. Hopefully, he gets more time soon with the Azzurri as Ventura will likely call him up for the World Cup play-offs versus Sweden.

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