STATS: How far off his best is Benteke since his return?

Aston Villa's Christian Benteke is considerably off his best since returning from injury recently.

Aston Villa are pinning much of their attacking hopes on Christian Benteke this season, after the powerful forward finally returned to fitness recently.

Benteke ruptured his Achilles towards the back-end of the last campaign, meaning he was left on the sidelines for a considerable period of time.

During his time on the treatment table, he has been sorely missed by the team as their main attacking outlet. 

His return to the first-team does not seem to have had the desired impact so far, though, as he has been unable to stop the club's worrying slide.

Villa have lost their last five Premier League games, without even managing to score, and it has led to huge concerns emerging over what direction this season is heading in.

The hope is that having someone of the quality of Benteke available to them will help fire them up the table, but manager Paul Lambert has warned that it could be a while before the Belgian is back to his best.

"The injury he had was really severe," Lambert said to BBC Sport. "He might have to wait for six or seven game before he's really up to speed."

Benteke was well off the pace in the club's last game against Queens Park Rangers, and the stats show just how far behind his best he is at the moment.

  PositionTeamSeasonShots per gameKey passes per gameHeaders won per gameTouches per gamePasses per gamePassing AccuracyDispossessed per game
Christian Benteke FW Aston Villa 2013-2014 2.5 1.8 8.8 47.7 33.5 60.7% 2.3
Christian Benteke FW Aston Villa 2014-2015 2.3 0.3 5.3 36.6 27.6 66.2% 2.6

The 24-year-old is renowned for his physical presence, but he is not being anywhere near as dominant in the air as he was when fully fit.

He also has not been able to highlight his quality with the ball at his feet so well. Benteke has been dispossessed by defenders more often than before, as he looks to adapt to the pace of the game again, whilst his passing is also not as incisive.

Benteke has earned a number of plaudits for his goalscoring threat, but he also created a number of chances for his teammates previously. 

This season, he has barely been able to effect games with his passing ability, though, and this is an area he needs to develop quickly.

Although patience will be the key for Benteke's recovery, it is a virtue which is running short at Villa Park with the club's supporters becoming frustrated at the lack of progress the side are making.

Lambert can barely afford to give his players time to find their feet and the sooner Benteke gets back to his best the better their chances of arresting their slide will be. 

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