Benteke – the next Drogba?

The world is waking up to Benteke

(Getty)

(Getty)

…”That was probably the most complete performance I’ve seen from a centre-forward in the Premier League this season,” commented pundit Alan Shearer, the league’s all-time record goal-scorer. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, on the receiving end of Benteke on Saturday, admitted, “Benteke was outstanding.”

I can recall certain members of the football punditry family who scoffed at the seven seven million pounds Villa paid Genk for Benteke at the end of August. Not cheap, certainly, and all the more significant set against the club’s other transfer business — a series of reasonably modest investments. How many minutes of action had those pundits actually seen Benteke play? I’d wager zero, across the board. On the other hand, Lambert would have done his homework on the Congo-born forward several times over. 

Benteke’s abilities would have been obvious — pace, power, channelled aggression — but Lambert was also primarily investing in raw potential, and doing so before other, perhaps bigger, clubs woke up to the big man.

Benteke was hardly top secret, not after 19 goals in 37 games during his first (and only, as it transpired) season with Genk, and pushing his way into Belgium’s senior squad. Had Lambert waited another season, just to be sure and to see how the player developed further, Benteke may have been well out of Villa’s reach. Instead, he went for it. It may well prove to be an inspired judgment call.

… Reds defenders got close, but couldn’t nudge Benteke off the ball — the striker is six foot, 4 inches tall, and knows how to use his frame to good effect. 

It was, all things considered, a devastating display from a player who turned 22 on December 3rd. 

Read The world is waking up to Benteke

Benteke Carrying the Villains Up the Table

(Getty)

(Getty)

Where would so and so be without a certain player gets asked all the time in sports. In the case of Aston Villa, it is scary for their fans to think about where they would be without Christian Benteke. They certainly would not be out of the relegation zone and in the Capital One Cup if he weren’t with them.

Benteke has five goals in 12 Premier League games this season, which is the most on the team. In addition to that, he has bagged another three in the Capital One Cup. He has contributed on many more and is always a handful. Its not just the smaller clubs that he has been bullying either. In a game earlier this season against Manchester United, he tormented Chris Smalling all game. In the last match on the road at Liverpool he put on a show. He scored twice and helped set up Andreas Weimann(who has also been very good) with a wonderful back-heel pass.

Benteke has everything that you would want in a striker. He has amazing strength and it is extremely rare to see him get knocked off the ball. His speed and quickness is also deceptive. He is constantly moving off the ball and gets away from defenders before they even realize he is gone. Most importantly, he has great awareness and finishing skills. Benteke is always hovering around the net, like a vulture. He gets into good positions all the time and is very efficient around the net. This combination of qualities makes him a lethal striker.

Read about Benteke on Bleacher Report

Aston Villa v Reading - Premier League

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Benteke a marked man now, says Villa team-mate N’Zogbia

“He’s made a big impact but he’s a young kid and this is his first year in the Premier League.

“So he’ll still have to learn how to play against different defenders. They are really strong and it’s going to be a massive challenge.

“I told him that in England the defenders won’t laugh at you, trust me, you’ll end up with a head cut or something.

“He has to make sure that every single ball he goes for he has to go for it 100 per cent. Now he knows. He’s brave enough to do that, though, he has the size and the strength.”

N’Zogbia has been impressed by the mental strength Benteke has displayed to truly announce his arrival in recent weeks after some early teething troubles.

After scoring on his debut, Benteke spurned a series of chances during his first few matches, but has responded with a prolific scoring streak, including a brilliant brace in last weekend’s victory at Liverpool.

“If you have a bad day you have to make sure you forget about it,” said N’Zogbia. “The next day is the most important. If he thinks about a miss, he has to say ‘okay, I missed it’. Maybe the next time he won’t miss it, he’ll learn from his mistakes.

Read why N’Zogbia feels that Benteke will have to adapt to continue scoring

Just how good is Villa star Benteke?

(Getty)

(Getty)

Brimming with muscular aggression and providing Aston Villa’s slick build up play with a cutting edge, Benteke found himself being likened to Didier Drogba – including here by Jamie Redknapp – after scoring two goals and setting up the other in an eye-catching 3-1 win.

Power: Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger are rated as one of the best central defensive double acts in the Barclays Premier League but from early in the game, it was apparent Benteke’s hulking presence and work-rate was unsettling. Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers conceded he was ‘brilliant’

Potency: After going close with a sixth-minute header, Benteke had the air of a striker who knew he would score.

The first was 25 yard drive that he squeezed past Pepe Reina in to the corner of the Kop End net, the second was deftly finished after he had bulldozed his way through. To put the gloss on his display, the back-heel which teed up Weimann was glorious.

Potential: ‘Christian can be anything he wants,’ said Lambert. ‘He might not hit his peak until he is about 28, you never know. But he has been incredible for us, absolutely fantastic. He is playing in fantastic Belgian side which is bringing him on as well.

Read Sportsmail runs the rule over Belgian striker

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