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Expect Pablo Osvaldo to get off to a flyer for Southampton this weekend

The Italian needs to be loved, and plays his best football when he is. With that in mind, he should be firing on all cylinders against Sunderland today.

The first time I saw Pablo Osvaldo play it was in the flesh, at the first ever competitive fixture at the new Wembley Stadium.

The Argentine born Italian forward was lining up alongside Giampaolo Pazzini for Italy under-21’s, in a game where his strike partner will forever be immortalised - as the first man to score a hat-trick at the new Wembley.

That was 2007, and at the time Osvaldo was a spiky character about to embark on an unsuccessful time with Fiorentina.

But I remember being instantly impressed by the players incredible pace, drive and determination, alongside the cumbersome but deadly Pazzini he was the perfect foil.

Today, he is likely to play some part in the game for Southampton against Sunderland - after he completed his club record move from AS Roma last weekend.

Whether he starts or not remains to be seen, but I would certainly put money on him scoring today regardless.

Osvaldo is a troubled, controversial but overall delicate soul - who plays his best football when loved, when appreciated, when cheered by the fans.

Certainly he will be received with open arms by the Saints faithful this afternoon - who no doubt already have a punchy tune for the player (I am thinking White Stripes - Seven Nation Army).

With that behind him, he will be unplayable today, and should find the back of the net.

It will be a stark contrast to his final few months in the Italian capital. He fell afoul of the clubs board and more importantly the Giallorossi Ultras.

He was booed, abused online, his home graffitied and threatened by dismayed Roma fans - who were unhappy with his comments after defeat to fierce rivals Lazio in the Coppa Italia final.

Effectively, the clubs top scorer was harangued and bullied, until being chased out of town by his own supporters.

But Pochettino knows him well from an excellent campaign at Espanyol together - and it was continued phone conversations with the Southampton manager that had him convinced a move to the South Coast would be good for him.

With the love of the fans and the arm round the shoulder from a manager who seems to understand him - Osvaldo should be deadly for the club this season.

Alongside the ever reliable Rickie Lambert - who knows what Saints could do this season?

How excited are you to see Osvaldo in action today?

image: © joncandy

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