Quick links

Premier League

Good news for Villa, but bad news for Tottenham - Benteke on the mend

The Belgian international was expected to be sidelined for six weeks with a hip injury, but Paul Lambert has revealed the striker is making good progress and could be ready to face Spurs on October 20.

Aston Villa fans’ worst nightmare played itself out in the club’s win over Norwich at Carrow Road, with key striker Christian Benteke limping off in the first-half with a hip injury.

The former Genk attacker had been expected to be on the sidelines for six weeks, but Villa boss Paul Lambert has confirmed that Benteke could well make his return to the fold sooner than expected.

"He is doing great. I think he will be back quicker. We'll have to wait and see," the Scottish trainer stated.

"We've two games before the international break, which has probably come at the right time for him and for us.

"The worst scenario was he was going to be out for a considerable period of time, but the way he is progressing, everybody is pretty happy with him.

"He played a lot of games with Genk before he joined us, so he never really had that much of a break.

"The amount of games he's had here, and playing for the national team, never gave him that breathing space. He never mentioned he was fatigued or anything, he just kept on going.

"It's the first time he's been injured since I've been here, but hopefully, as I've said, it's not too bad."

Benteke could well make his comeback for Villa’s home clash with Tottenham on October 20.

In the meantime, Villa will experience what it would have been like if Benteke has followed his initial desire and left the club over the summer. The 22-year-old was heavily linked with a move to a top-six club over the off-season, but had a change of heart and signed a new contract at Villa Park.

The Birmingham-based club’s fans will hope that Benteke can be the figurehead around which Lambert can build a young side to progress. However, the realistic prospect is that Villa will be offered large transfer fees for the striker in every transfer window and will struggle to hold onto the star in the long run.

While Benteke is on the sidelines, Villa will rely on summer signing Libor Kozak to lead the line. The Czech forward came off the bench against Norwich to score the decisive goal once the Belgian had sustained his injury. In the long run, the former Lazio man may well be expected to fill Benteke’s shows if he was to leave Villa Park for a title-chasing side.

Villa are certainly weakened without the presence of Benteke to lead their attack, but his injury is a big chance for Kozak. The 24-year-old struggled to command a regular first-team spot in Rome and will now be given a chance to prove his worth to the Villa fans.

He certainly has a lot of work to do to replicate the debut campaign of the man he is temporarily replacing, but his new club are relying on him to fill sizeable shoes in Benteke’s absence.

image: © little-pete

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch