Aston Villa centre-back Jores Okore has hailed Tim Sherwood’s decision to pair Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor up front, describing their strike-partnership to the club’s official website as the “dream team”.
Villa had scored just 12 goals in 25 Premier League games at the time of Paul Lambert’s sacking last month, with both struggling to find the back of the net throughout the first half of the season.
After returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon, Benteke had struck just three times in 19 total appearances prior to Sherwood’s arrival, while Agbonlahor also endured considerable criticism for managing a mere three goals himself in 23 games.
The much-maligned Lambert had stuck to using the Belgian as a lone forward during his tenure, with his fellow front man often pushed out wide, but Sherwood has since opted for a two-striker formation and the decision is now bearing fruit.
After each scored in the 2-1 league win over West Bromwich Albion, the weekend’s emphatic 4-0 thumping of Sunderland saw both bag braces and, with Sherwood declaring them the top-flight’s best strike-partnership outside the top-six, Okore believes combining their strengths has been crucial to the club’s mini revival.
"It was a beautiful sight to see Christian and Gabby score two goals each at Sunderland - and also watch them find the net against West Brom too,” the Danish defender said.
"Earlier this season, they didn't really play as a pair. It was mainly Christian up top by himself and Gabby on the side. Now they are together and they are using their unique strengths.
"That makes it hard for any defence. The guys at the back have to cope with pace and power - two very different strengths.
"One is strong in the air and the other is incredibly quick on the floor. That makes it hard for any defence to stop them.
"They have found a good connection. Let's see them keep it going."