Aston Villa

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke Can Be the Premier League's Top Scorer

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 29:  Christian Benteke of Aston Villa celebrates scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Sunderland at Villa Park on April 29, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Joshua HaywardContributor IAugust 5, 2013

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is one of the leading fancies to claim the Premier League golden boot next season.

The 22-year-old Congo-born striker enjoyed a tremendous first year in England's top flight, notching 19 league goals—including a hat-trick against Sunderland—which was the fourth highest of last campaign. Only Manchester United's Robin van Persie, Liverpool's Luis Suarez and Tottenham's Gareth Bale finished above the Villa hitman.

The same four players, along with Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, head SkyBet's odds for the Premier League's outright top goalscorer of 2013-14. The Belgian is at 16/1.

If I were a betting man...

And there's absolutely no reason as to why he can't do it again, why he can't go on to score more. Far too often we see players take the Premier League by storm in their debut season and fail to reach greater heights. Manchester City's Robinho is a prime example of that flash-in-the-pan type scenario.

 

The Brazilian took the Premier League by storm following his much-anticipated, mega-money move from Spanish giants Real Madrid, producing the samba-style play that encompasses Brazilian football culture as well as scoring 14 goals along the way.

The current Milan star's second season was a disaster, however, scoring just one goal in an injury-hit campaign that ended with a loan move back to former side Santos during the January transfer window.

Former Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel was a victim of the same fate. Well, almost anyway.

After an injury-plagued first season followed by family difficulties and troubles adapting to life in the Midlands (somewhat different to that of life in Buenos Aires, one would imagine), Angel found the net on a regular basis during the 2003-04 campaign. The Colombian notched 23 goals in all competitions, with 16 in the Premier League, securing a place in Villa history by becoming the second-most recent player to break the 20-goal barrier. The only other player to do that is the very subject of this article.

 

Benteke will not follow in the footsteps of these two forgotten Premier League stars, though. He simply has too much going for him to do anything other than to be pushing for the Premier League's top goalscorer's perch come Sunday, May 11, 2014.

First of all, the striker has a year's experience behind him. He was new to all of this last year yet still took to it like a duck to water. He has the know-how to deal with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and fellow countryman Vincent Kompany when he pits his wits against theirs during the respective fixtures next season.

He is also sure to have more support. Villa's squad lacked strength in depth last term, with Benteke almost single-handedly securing his side's Premier League status. But Villa boss Paul Lambert has brought in a number of attacking options to supply the Belgian with all that he needs. Acquisitions such as Nicklas Helenius, who should complement Benteke well up front, Bulgarian Aleksandar Tonev, who will provide support from the flanks, and midfield maestro Leandro Bacuna are all trusted with the responsibility of adding to Villa's firepower.

Another huge plus for Benteke as he goes in search of the golden boot is that his confidence is almost certainly going to be through the roof, with the news of his new contract that will see him stay at the club until 2017, and, let's face it, probably put a bit more cash in his back pocket, too.

After handing in a transfer request early in July, as the BBC reported, Benteke agreed to an extension and has since expressed his joy at being back with the Villa team. He's also been tweeting about his partnership with teammate Andreas Weimann.

Finally, the main reason as to why Benteke looks a good bet to be the Premier League's top goalscorer next season is that doubts surround the futures of Suarez and Bale, who are both being linked with moves to Real Madrid. Should they depart, Benteke's odds would contract heavily.

So, if I were a betting man...

 

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