Christian Benteke scored Aston Villa's only goal as they went down 4-1 to Stoke City at Villa Park on Sunday and dropped below their opponents to 11th in the Premier League.
The Belgian put Villa ahead in the fifth minute, giving Paul Lambert's side their ideal start and continuing his terrific scoring record at home, as OptaJoe highlighted:
5 - Christian Benteke has scored five times in his last six @premierleague matches at Villa Park. Home.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 23, 2014
And Jim Proudfoot noted that it brought him to double figures for the season:
Benteke the 14th player into double figures for goals in the Premier League this season— Jim Proudfoot (@JimProudfoot) March 23, 2014
Assisted by Fabian Delph, Benteke received the ball on the penalty spot and rifled a left-footed shot into the roof of the net, impressing Rob Jones:
Brilliant, kept the ball and high tempo. Delph is on fire at the moment!! Text book finish from Benteke, confidence will be high. #avfc— Rob Jones (@UpTheAstonVilla) March 23, 2014
Dezil Dez was equally impressed and hinted that some high-profile managers might want to take a look:
Wow! Just saw that finish by Benteke. Superb. Wenger could fine tune his first touch and passing.— Dezil Dez (@DezilDez) March 23, 2014
Squawka noted that the 23-year-old has a remarkably similar record to that of last season:
Christian Benteke has now scored 10 goals in 25 EPL appearances this season. Last season he had scored 11 goals after 25 appearances.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 23, 2014
It also highlighted his physical dominance in the air:
Christian Benteke has won more aerial duels this season (211) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues. pic.twitter.com/3i1JsHbPUe— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 23, 2014
Despite the bright start, Villa were soon pegged back by goals from Peter Odemwingie, Peter Crouch and Steven N'Zonzi before half-time.
Just after the break, Benteke went down in the box and was furious that Mark Clattenburg did not give a penalty, per ByTheMinAstonVilla:
Gabby sets up Benteke who goes down under a challenge and no pen given. Benteke is furious and booked for dissent! 1-3 (52)— ByTheMinAstonVilla (@ByTheMinVilla) March 23, 2014
Some, including Rob and Football Accumulator, felt that he should perhaps have been booked for both diving and for dissent and thus sent for an early bath:
Benteke reaction was awful, should send him off teach him a lesson— Football Accumulator (@footballacca) March 23, 2014
However, he stayed on the pitch but could not do anything to prevent a heavy loss for Villa, especially when Geoff Cameron made it four for the visitors on 90 minutes.
Indeed, the likes of Mr. Joe felt that he went missing in the second half when Villa were trailing:
Anyone know where Benteke and Agbonlahor have disappeared to when we need them most ? #AVFC— Mr Joe (@Joe10Wilcock) March 23, 2014
Despite the loss, Benteke did get on the score sheet and showed that he has the quality in front of goal that might have other clubs looking to secure his signature over the summer.
And Emmanuel Sexton was comparing him to some of the best in Europe:
And I say Benteke is better than Robert Lewandowski.Borussia should buy him for next season.— Emmanuel Sexton (@EmmanuelEireann) March 23, 2014
Villa will desperately want to keep him at the club, as his goals have been key in taking them to nine points clear of the relegation zone.
However, they may receive some big offers, and if Benteke can perform well in a strong Belgian team at the World Cup, it may be worth their while to cash in on their prize asset.