Which Striker Cards Should Lambert Play?
The transfer window slammed shut and Villa were left with four main hit men – a quick man, a big man, a no.10 and a goalscorer. One paper it’s a striking quartet that gives Lambert both options and selection headaches, although it’s not quite as simple as that due to the limitations of Villa’s supply line for the four. FIFA 13 was released a couple of weeks back and our forwards got rated both in depth and overall. With that in mind, we assess that rating with figures of our own, analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the claret and blue boys paid to put the ball in the net. And we’re doing it, top trump style.
Final Analysis: When he burst onto the scene, his pace was frightening. At one point with him, John Carew and Luke Moore up front, Villa looked unplayable. In recent years, Gabby has bulked up and lost that yard of pace. Despite goals drying up in recent years (8 goals in his last 62 league games) he’s still a threat and a fan’s favourite at Villa Park with his ability to unsettle defenses. Everyone is waiting for a manager to finally get the best out of him, and Lambert deserves the time to do that. Certainly Lambert has the option of playing him on the wing, allowing him to cut in and link with a front two.
Final Analysis: Rumours circulating in the press in recent weeks suggest that Villa are prepared to offload Bent in the next transfer window. His goals arguably kept Villa in the league when Houllier signed the England International, but under Lambert he’s failed to hit form and isn’t guaranteed a place in the starting lineup anymore. Unless we can get at least £14m back from him, then it would not be worth letting go of such a clinical and proven marksmen. Bent of all the strikers would benefit from a strengthening of a rather lightweight and limited Villa midfield. A goal poacher needs creative quality to work – the equation is that simple.
Final Analysis: Benteke came with quite a reputation in Belgium and is scoring goals for his country ahead of Lukaku at the moment. Unfortunately he’s yet to look fully fit and up to scratch for the Villa. Big and strong, Christian appears to be a handful to defenses, but in what is a fast and furious Premier League, his touch and quick thinking has been lacking, and he’s been caught out so far in that sense. Lambert has shown faith in him though, and despite being only 21-years-old it’s time for the big man to start repaying that faith soon. Benteke and Bent would potentially be a cracking forward combo, if Villa could provide decent and regular creative support.
Final Analysis: Everyone predicted this to be his breakthrough year after the time he got towards the end of last season, but the £7m deadline day signing of Benteke has limited opportunities for the Austrian. He has looked lively as a substitute at times, providing graft and guile that has made the Villa fans warm to him quickly. Needs to earn his spot ahead of three more experienced and at the moment favoured attackers, but his time will come at Villa for sure. A start in the cup game against Swindon would be a reward for his patience and give Weimann a chance to further stake a claim.
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