4 headed goals, 176 aerial duels won - Does Villa striker need better service?

Benteke 2

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke has endured a quieter season in front of goal this term.

And yet the Belgian still has seven strikes to his name, with four assists. At the weekend. meanwhile, he told the Birmingham Mail he is happy with his season so far:

"I never imagined I would have such a good season and I'm happy with what I did, although I knew there would be some tough times," He said.

"That happened this season when I was injured and when I didn't score for a long time. But now I'm feeling better, which is good both for me and for the team."

A look at the stats suggests Benteke is right to be pleased.

PlayerTeamPosAtt Hd GoalAerial WonAppsMins
Christian Benteke Aston Villa FW 4 176 21 1,686
Wilfried Bony Swansea FW 3 56 22 1,441
Loïc Remy Newcastle FW 3 35 21 1,693
Jay Rodriguez Southampton FW 3 30 26 2,028
Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FW 3 3 18 1,417
Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 3 16 21 1,884
Emmanuel Adebayor Spurs FW 2 23 11 908
Steven Caulker Cardiff DF 2 98 26 2,340
Peter Crouch Stoke FW 2 188 23 1,774
Steven Fletcher Sunderland FW 2 54 19 1,178
Jose Fonte Southampton DF 2 62 24 2,101
Olivier Giroud Arsenal FW 2 103 24 2,064

This season, the 23-year-old has scored more headed goals than anyone else in the Premier League, with only Peter Crouch winning more aerial duels than the striker.

Still, though, Benteke's seven goals are hardly as clinical as the 19 he got in 25  last season. But with the statistics going very much in his favour, is any potential problem in front of goal down to service and not because of the forward himself?

NameTotal Cross / playedAccurate Cross / playedPlayed
Manchester City 24.44 6.56 25
Southampton 23.58 6.04 26
West Ham United 23.69 5.85 26
Manchester United 28.19 5.81 26
Norwich City 22.19 5.38 26
Swansea City 25.15 5.38 26
West Bromwich Albion 21.96 5.35 26
Stoke City 20.77 5.35 26
Chelsea 20.92 5.27 26
Everton 22.40 5.16 25
Cardiff City 20.00 5.04 26
Arsenal 19.88 4.54 26
Tottenham Hotspur 22.54 4.50 26
Hull City 22.65 4.50 26
Crystal Palace 18.56 4.24 25
Aston Villa 18.96 4.19 26
Newcastle United 20.12 3.92 26
Sunderland 20.12 3.84 25
Liverpool 17.85 3.77 26
Fulham 17.65 3.73 26

As we can see, Villa make just 4.19 accurate crosses per game, one of the lower rates in the Premier League, despite a reasonable amount played per game.

Marc Albrighton is a case in point. The Aston Villa winger made 41 crosses in his last two games, with just 12 being successful.

Even then, however, the "accurate" crosses often come into Benteke's path without pace or direction. In winning so many aerial duels, the Belgian often has too much to do to divert the ball into the back of the net, with the ball simple floating into the goalkeeper's arms.

The 23-year-old would thus benefit from much-improved service and, with his stats being as they are, imagine what he could do then?

Would Benteke flourish with better service?

image: © little-pete

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch