Negredo playing his way ahead of Costa in Spanish World Cup race
Having finished 2013 with seven goals in five games, a new calendar year has brought a change in fortunes for Diego Costa, as he is still awaiting his first goal of 2014 after three blanks in front of goal.
This is not only his longest drought of the season so far, but also his biggest barren run since March. He was especially quiet in the recent goalless draw with Barcelona.
Meanwhile, across Europe, his main rival for the gig of leading the Spanish line at the World Cup is having no such trouble continuing where he left off in 2013.
Only Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have scored more goals for club and country this season than Alvaro Negredo and his double in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi final with West Ham took his tally to nine in six games.
Further in Negredo’s favour to be Spain’s number nine in Brazil is the fact that he has featured in all three of their World Cup qualifiers this season and scored in each of them.
Therefore, preference has to be with Negredo to be the top World Cup goalscorer at 25/1, with Costa on offer at exactly the same price.
Given the fact that Vincent del Bosque has opted to start the likes of David Silva and Cesc Fabregas in attack in the past, there is every possibility that he may only take three recognised strikers to Brazil, and then take some extra versatile midfielders.
The third spot is an interesting one, with David Villa a trusted ally of Del Bosque and performing credibly at Atletico Madrid, Fernando Torres in a similar boat at Chelsea and Fernando Llorente rapidly finding his feet to become a key feature of the attacking philosophy at Juventus.
Torres is 40/1 in the World Cup odds to be top scorer, while Villa and Llorente can be backed at 50/1. Each-way bets will reward the top four scorers at 1/4 of the odds.