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Aston Villa Severely Lack Quality Up Front Without Christian Benteke

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Aston Villa player Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Capital One Cup second round match between Aston Villa and Rotherham at Villa Park on August 28, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Joshua HaywardContributor IOctober 7, 2013

On the face of it, a point away from home in the Premier League is probably a good thing—something to encourage the fans. What won't encourage the fans, however, was Villa's obvious deficiency of talent in front of goal against Hull City.

The visitors controlled the match for large parts, seeing more of the ball than their opponents, but they were unable to break down a dogged Hull back line.

The goalless draw extended the Tigers' unbeaten run at home this season to four matches.

In a hugely forgetful fixture, Villa did carve out the two best opportunities with Gabriel Agbonlahor—playing on the left wing—drawing a smart stop from Allan McGregor in the first half before dragging a shot wide from close range after the break.

HULL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  Andreas Weimann of Aston Villa takes a shot on goal as Jake Livermore of Hull closes in during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Aston Villa at KC Stadium on October 5, 2013 in Hull, England.  (Photo by J
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Paul Lambert opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation with the pacy Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann playing on either side of Libor Kozak, but the front three were unable to find the net.

Czech striker Kozak joined Villa from Lazio in the summer and finished top goalscorer in the Europa last season, but in no way is the 24-year-old the man to replace the injured Christian Benteke.

Before the Belgian's injury, which will see him ruled out until the end of October, he had scored four goals in five league games. And although Kozak, coming off the bench to replace Benteke, did score Villa's winner against Norwich, he simply does not possess the talent of his striking counterpart.

With proven Premier League goalscorer Darren Bent on loan at Fulham, Lambert's options up front leave a lot to be desired.

Should Villa have allowed Darren Bent to go out on loan?
Should Villa have allowed Darren Bent to go out on loan?Paul Thomas/Getty Images

Agbonlahor and Weimann both initially started their careers as forwards but have since been converted into effective wingers. For the final 10 minutes of the Hull clash, Weimann played as part of a front two but proved ineffective.

Other striking options at Lambert's disposal include the vastly inexperienced though promising Graham Burke, Jordan Bowery and Callum Robinson or summer signing Nicklas Helenius. These four players have a combined total of 0 Premier League goals between them.

A talented, attacking and maturing Villa squad do certainly have goals in them, though. Prior to the Hull fixture, Villa twice came from a goal down to beat title contenders Manchester City 3-2 at Villa Park, though the win was somewhat fortuitous.

Karim El Ahmadi was in an offside position as he received the ball before beating Joe Hart to level the scores at 1-1. Weimann then took advantage of Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic's comical defending to race through on goal and score the winner. It was a great result for the claret and blue outfit, but Lady Luck won't always be on their side.

Following the drab 0-0 draw, keeper Brad Guzan was quick to point out that his team were missing the talismanic Belgian. As the Daily Mail's John Edwards reports, the American stopper said:

Christian is a massive player for us, an important presence in attack, but it’s a case of sticking together while he’ s out and trying to get as many points as we can.

He is a top, top striker but we showed against Manchester City last week that we have guys who can step up and do a job. It was different here. We just didn’t create enough.

Next up for Villa are Tottenham in the Premier League, and with a 4-0 League Cup drubbing fresh in their mind, Villa will be more eager than ever to have Benteke fit and playing once again.

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