Aston Villa host Tottenham at 16.00 BST on Sunday, in a Premier League clash that puts a spotlight on both sides' much sought-after centre-forwards.
Villa's Christian Benteke should have fully recovered from a hip injury, per the Daily Mirror, while Tottenham will likely recall Spaniard Roberto Soldado to their starting lineup, having opted for Jermain Defoe in a 3-0 defeat to West Ham.
|NAME||Roberto Soldado||Christian Benteke|
|Last season (appearances/goals)||35/24||34/19|
It could have been Benteke lining up for Spurs this weekend. Tottenham targeted the player for a £30 million move this summer, per the Express' John Wragg, before turning to Soldado.
Did Spurs get the better player, though? Let's take a look at the two strikers' separate credentials.
Spain striker Soldado has endured a difficult start to his career in the Premier League, with two penalties in the opening two weeks the only goals he has scored thus far this league campaign.
Soldado is an excellent penalty box striker, but while he has improved on his all-round play over the past year, he is still struggling to get to grips with his new teammates and surroundings.
Once settled and better adapted to those around him, Soldado will be a success. He has been a frequent goalscorer at every club he has represented throughout his career and will almost certainly come good at White Hart Lane.
Soldado's movement around the area has been brilliant in recent seasons in Spain, while his finishing within the 18-yard box is among the best in Europe—off either foot or in the air.
Villas-Boas will want him to continue working on his hold-up play and work outside the penalty box. However, he will also be aware that if his side can create plentiful opportunities, Soldado is among the best around at taking them.
Belgian 22-year-old Benteke fell just one goal short of hitting 20 in his first Premier League season last campaign, but has already begun the present league campaign in determined style—notching four.
Tall and powerful, Benteke's early development at Aston Villa was exceptional, quickly adapting his game to become the focal point of a young and energetic attacking unit.
Defenders in the league quickly learned that it was a mistake to get too tight to the Belgian, with his phenomenal strength seeing more than one opponent sent flying. With the space he is afforded, he is then able to bring teammates into play.
The former Genk player has proven to be an excellent finisher and a major threat in the air. Now looking ever more comfortable with the ball at his feet, he is developing into a complete forward player.
He must continue to work on improving his first-touch and interplay with colleagues, but is heading in the right direction and would appear to have an excellent work ethic.
His potential is enormous, but he will need to maintain his steady progress to reach the very top level in the future.
While it is important to accept players as unique talents in their own right, Benteke and Soldado are two of the easier players in world football to compare.
The Belgian is six years younger than Tottenham's recent signing, but despite their differing ways of executing their intentions, they play very similar roles for their sides—and are both working on improving their play outside of the penalty box.
Right now, much would depend on what style of team you were trying to put together as to which star you would pick.
In a counter-attacking side that rely on quick breaks and creating opportunities from low possession figures, the obvious choice would be Benteke—with his physical attributes unsettling to any defender.
Conversely, if a side is aware that they will create plentiful opportunities, but need a goalscorer to convert the chances, then the reliable Soldado would more likely be chosen.
Overall, the Belgian has the bigger potential of the two. Soldado has never been an elite forward, but rather a very good one. At 28, you would have to assume that is not going to change.
Given his age and strong development over the past two years, Benteke has potential to move to new heights in terms of performance level. It is far from guaranteed but, if considering the overall package, he would be the choice for many clubs—with an eye towards long-term potential.