Former Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has backed a fit Christian Benteke to lead Aston Villa out of their current slump.
Benteke returned to action earlier this month after being sidelined since April with a ruptured Achilles tendon, but has looked off the pace in two starts and one substitute appearance so far.
After a solid start to the season, Paul Lambert’s side have failed to score a single goal in five successive league defeats, and the pressure is on to turn things around when Tottenham Hotspur visit Villa Park on Sunday afternoon.
Having netted 34 times in 67 total appearances since arriving from Genk in 2012 for £7 million, Redknapp believes it won’t be long before we see the imposing Belgian leading Villa out of trouble, but adds that the rest of the line-up must also step up to provide him with service.
‘I saw Villa at QPR and I’m not unduly worried about them only finding the net four times so far this term. The goals will come and that’s because Christian Benteke is on his way back,’ he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
‘He’s had an horrendous injury and to tear your Achilles, for someone like him, who relies on his power and spring, is a bad one to pick up. But I could sense on Monday Night Football, with his touch and his movement, that he was getting back to the levels he was at last year. If that’s the case, goals will follow.
‘Benteke needs support, though, and Villa could really do with some goals from other areas to take the pressure off the Belgian.
‘Their midfield three at Loftus Road had nine goals in 164 games between them and they need to chip in more. Similarly, Gabriel Agbonlahor doesn’t get enough and Andreas Weimann isn’t prolific.
‘Perhaps they could bring Charles N’Zogbia in to a number ten role. He’s got a good left foot and has shown he can find the net.
‘But that’s definitely a problem area for them. Finding someone who can score 8-10 goals a season and slide nice little balls through for the strikers isn’t easy – but it’s a player Villa need.’