Friday, 21 December 2012

Benteke the Inspiration for Improving Villa

Aston Villa and new boss, Paul Lambert endured a difficult start to the Premier League season but there are real signs they are on the up, and fans looking for betting tips should expect a much better second half to the campaign.

When the amiable Scot left Norwich - a job he had excelled in - over the summer to take the reins at Villa Park, he was expected to lead the side up the table after a difficult previous 12 months under old boss, Alex McLeish.

It did not begin like that, though, and plenty were tipping the Midlanders to be involved in the relegation battle for much of the season.

Lacklustre performances, a threadbare, injury-hit squad that was conceding plenty but struggling to find the net at the other end, and the ongoing surprise omission of record signing, Darren Bent, led many to claim it was a club going backwards.

Step forward a certain Christian Benteke - surely one of the signings of the summer - and, suddenly, Villa's fans have a man they believe can lead them to - who knows? - even a place in Europe in 2013.

Benteke has slowly adapted to the demands of the Premier League and the in-form forward is now one of the most feared strikers around.

Seemingly unplayable at his bustling best and able to create goals as well as score them, the Belgian's excellent all-round displays have been one of the highlights of the autumn in the top flight.

His double in the impressive victory at Liverpool in December took his tally for the season to eight in all competitions and his form has justified Lambert's decision to continually leave Bent out of his plans.

For the team as a whole, after a much-improved last few weeks, it now appears Lambert has stamped his mark on a very young side that is now buzzing with confidence.

Bigger tests await for a developing side but Lambert's managerial ability, which was foolishly being questioned early on, should not be underestimated and the future looks bright for Villa - with Benteke leading the way from the front.

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