Former Aston Villa ace reveals his concern over Christian Benteke

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Nolberto Solano believes Christian Benteke has not been the same player since his injury comeback.

Former Aston Villa midfielder Nolberto Solano has told Sky Sports News HQ that he believes the club are suffering because Christian Benteke has not been up to same standard as past seasons.

Villa are on a run of over 10 hours of top-flight football without a goal, with Benteke’s failure to reproduce his former goalscoring exploits being a core reason for their recent slide down the table.

Signed from Genk in August 2012 for £7 million, the Belgian striker netted an impressive 34 goals in 67 total appearances during his first two seasons at Villa, but suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in April which left him sidelined for six months.

He returned to the pitch in October, but has scored just three goals in 16 games since, and Solano believes his fitness battle has left him sapped of form and confidence.

"They are in a difficult period, of that there is no question," he said.

"They have got some great players, they have real quality but Christian Benteke is not the same player as last season because he has had injuries and that can stop your confidence.

"They are a great club and I had the opportunity to play for them but they have changed a lot in the last five or six years and this season has been very tough for them.”

After the weekend’s 5-0 thumping at Arsenal, Villa have now gone eight league games without a win, six without a goal and remain just three points above the relegation zone in 16th-place.

Manager Paul Lambert made a £5 million bid for Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert before the transfer deadline in an attempt to solve their scoring problems, per the Guardian, but the Reds forward turned down a move to Villa Park.

A lack of goals is not the sole problem, however, with Benteke also receiving a distinct lack of service in his lone role up top.

The recent attacking additions of Carles Gil and Scott Sinclair might help somewhat but, with league leaders Chelsea visiting Villa Park at the weekend, Lambert’s side are staring another potential relegation battle in the face.

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