Christian Benteke returned to the Villa squad nearly a month ago now and is yet to really pull his weight and score. Lambert did warn that it would take “six to seven games” to see Benteke at his best again, when many hoped to see Benteke raring to go.
Against Manchester City, he failed to inspire in his thirty minutes on the pitch. The Villans only had one shot on target all game, after fans had already become frustrated by the side’s failure to score.
Since then the Villans have taken on Everton, QPR and Tottenham. Benteke started against Everton but he did not cause many nightmares for the Toffees and he was fairly poor. Last Monday Paul Lambert’s side took on QPR at Loftus Road. The whole side was abysmal, not just Benteke. Paul Lambert came out defending all his strikers.
Christian Benteke is still young and he is hot-headed. He has a fairly poor discipline record, picking up yellow cards frequently and received a red card yesterday. Against Tottenham, he looked like he was returning to his best. He held the ball up well and he moved to bring Weimann and N’Zogbia into the game. The link-up play was considerably better than it had been for some time. However, late on in the second half, certain Spurs’ players were definitely attempting to wind the big Belgian up. They were pushing him around and decisions were going against him. This is when he first came into conflict with the referee. He kept pushing his luck, even though he was having a good day. At this point in the season we need a fully fit and ready Benteke. Now we will be without the striker for at least one game. It is pointless appealing the red card as the law states a player cannot raise his arms at another player. It was a harsh decision but, given the way Benteke was talking to the referee, Neil Swarbrick, this decision was expected. The manner of the sending off was pathetic, with Paul Lambert up in arms, along with the rest of the team. Ryan Mason put his head in to Benteke’s face so the Villa number twenty raised his hands and pushed him away. There was no sanction for Mason, which is shocking given that Benteke was provoked. Fans have to accept it was a red card offence but the manner in which is occured was appalling.
The Tottenham game was Bentke’s best performance to date and fans would soon have witnessed a fully confident Benteke. Now the Villans will have to cope again against an in form West Ham side without Benteke and may be without him for the two games after that. In the midst of such a barren spell of goals and points, it was the last thing the Villans needed but it was a natural reaction against Spurs yesterday and it has to be accepted. The side really does need him. Villa fans will possibly have to witness a few more drab games in his absence. Aston Villa cannot be a one man team and Paul Lambert desperately needs to strengthen his strike force, given Kozak’s situation.