Former Belgium manager: It will either be Chelsea or Villa striker, not both

Who should lead the line for Belgium in the World Cup, Everton's on-loan Chelsea star Romelu Lukaku or Aston Villa's key man Christian Benteke?

Belgium's match against the Ivory Coast on Wednesday will give a clear indication of who Marc Wilmots fancies to lead the line in Brazil, with former boss Georges Leekens believing it will either be Lukaku or Benteke, but not both.

Speaking before Belgium's game on Wednesday, Leekens said: ''For me, what is important in a preparation match is not so much to see who will play but meet the players and implement tactics. But I think he will play Lukaku or Benteke early. Not both. Or another player for them [such] as Mirallas.''

It is highly-likely that one, or the other will play and their performances in the Premier League this season haven't been too dissimilar from one another.

A look at the stats show both players in similar lights, with each player having different strong points.

When it comes to goals and assists this season, the young Chelsea striker comes out on top:

NameTeamPosmins / GoalsGoal AssistAppsMins
Christian Benteke Aston Villa FW 206.44 2 23 1,858
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 157.80 5 20 1,578

Despite the statistics, it's imperative to weight the contribution of each player against the side they play for. And, in my opinion, Everton have a stronger side than Aston Villa and therefore, it's easier for Lukaku to play off those around him.

NameTeamPosmins / Total Scoring Attmins / Total Att AssistAppsMins
Christian Benteke Aston Villa FW 34.41 43.21 23 1,858
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 27.21 87.67 20 1,578

As shown by attempted efforts at goal, and attempted goal-scoring opportunities made by the player, the margin between the two players closes up.

And when it comes to passing and making accurate passes, the two players are once again none to dissimilar.

NameTeamPosmins / Total Passmins / Accurate PassAppsMins
Christian Benteke Aston Villa FW 2.44 4.12 23 1,858
Romelu Lukaku Everton FW 3.25 4.99 20 1,578

All in all, it's a very tight one to call and it could go on previous showings for the Belgium national side. However, despite winning more caps for his county, Lukaku has actually scored less international goals than Benteke to date.

It's a nice conundrum to have, and both players will no doubt believe they have a good chances of being the main man in Brazil.

image: © mikehamm

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch