After two years of average performances, it would seem that Christian Benteke has finally found his top form that helped us to Premier League survival during the 2012/13 season. Proof of this was his excellent performance in the QPR game on Tuesday night.
All three goals that Benteke scored against the Rs were typical of an in-form striker. His third goal, a free kick, earned Villa a point from the game and could prove to be huge for us come the end of the season. The strike was something that he wouldn’t have tried a couple of months ago and it just goes to show how much his confidence has grown since Tim Sherwood took over.
The Belgian has gone from being dropped by Paul Lambert for games against Chelsea and Hull to being the first player on the team sheet under Sherwood. We are utilising him fully and it has shown through the goals that he has scored. With seven Premier League goals in as many games and four in the last two games, he is a man in form.
What is important now is that Benteke continues his fine form between now and the end of the season. He is capable of stretching his tally to at least fifteen goals for the season if he performs as well as he has been of late. If these goals keep coming then he will steer us closer to survival.
During the game against QPR, we gave away a couple of cheap goals, which was disappointing to see. However, if you do give away goals through poor defending, it is crucial that you have a threat going forward and we saw that through Jack Grealish, Gabby Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke.
With Libor Kozak now back in full training following a horror year for him, he too could play a part in keeping Villa as a Premier League side going into next season. His return to the first team picture has coincided with Benteke’s up-turn in form and things are looking a lot better than they have for a long time when it comes to Villa’s attack.
What Benteke has been doing well recently is creating chances for other players and that was epitomised by Grealish’s early effort on Tuesday night, following a perfectly placed cross from Benteke.
The service that Christian Benteke has received in recent games is much better than it has been too, with Joe Cole, Fabian Delph, Gabby Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish all making a number of chances for our top goal scorer in recent weeks.
If the Belgian continues to perform between now and the end of the season and finds the net as regularly as he has done in the last seven games, then we should have no relegation fears come the end of May.