Usually the Spanish La Liga is a two-horse race overwhelmingly dominated by Barcelona and Real Madrid, but every now and then, a darkhorse surprises fans and neutrals to challenge the status quo. In recent years, it’s been Atletico Madrid, but some time ago (under the management of Rafa Benitez) Valencia was a title-winning side that broke the Spanish duopoly briefly.
It looks like they’re back at it again this season, and after a solid set of signings during the summer window, their squad seems to be in great shape and they’re playing great attacking football. After their win this weekend, they’re lagging only four points behind league-leaders Barcelona, and they’ve got an identical gap between them and third place Real Madrid.
One of the recent additions to their team is the mercurial Italian striker Simone Zaza – who arrived at the club on loan in January 2017 but made a permanent move in June. He’s been the fulcrum of their attack this season, scoring a hat-trick in under ten minutes against Malaga back in September; but he added this goal to his tally over the weekend in a 2-1 win over Alaves:
A seemingly uncontrollable cross was fizzed into the box from the right and looked like it would be easily dealt with, but Zaza dashed to meet it, nicking it between two Alaves defenders and taking a snap shot that flew into the roof of the net.
The Italian has been known for his inconsistency, famously having an atrocious period at West Ham, but he’s equally notorious for his goal-scoring ability when he’s on song. As long as he’s kept happy it looks like his prolific goal return will continue, but is it going to be enough for Valencia to pose a legitimate threat to Barcelona, who sit at the top of La Liga? You can place your bets on the upcoming football fixtures here.