Christian Benteke has been rumored to be on the way to the Emirates in the summer, so it was a chance for everyone to have a first hand look at the Belgian front man who has taken the Premier League by storm already scoring 15 goals in all competitions for Villa, following his summer switch from Genk.
Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor heaped praise on his fellow attacker Christian Benteke ahead of today’s game and feels that the young striker has the potential to make it big in the coming years admitting that he is not surprised to hear his colleague being linked to the big guns in England like Arsenal and Tottenham. Agbonlahor, who is Villa’s longest serving player, sang the praises of Benteke in a local interview, where he said, “Christian is one of the players of the season for me so far…he’s young, he’s gifted in what he can do so he’s going to be linked with a lot of clubs…”
So how did Agbonlahor and Benteke’s Villa fair against the Gunners…
After a disastrous start to the game for Villa where the Gunners’ stylish Cazorla put the hosts ahead with a low shot after only six minutes, the midlands outfit played quite well for most of the remainder of the game even though star man Benteke was kept relatively quiet by Arsenal’s defensive central pairing of Mertesacker and Vermaelen who fortunately managed to nullify the clear aerial threat he posed. The pairing delivered a much more accomplished performance today which was a relief after some of their recent displays.
Giroud wasted chances either side of half time but it was Wilshere who looked in charge as he made sure Arsenal started the match quickly for once and he was a dominant force throughout after having a good shot saved by Guzan before the build up to the first goal.
It was Agbonlahor rather than Benteke who tested keeper Wojciech Szczesny with a good shot in the second half and he almost got on the end of a Charles N’Zogbia cross giving a few breathless moments to the Arsenal dug-out.
Villa defended with passion and managed to keep Arsenal quiet for much of the game and proceeded to grab the equalizer on a surging counter attack when Weimann scored after sprinting clear of the pursuing Gunners defenders after N’Zogbia had headed the ball to him .
By now Wenger’s impatience was clear for all to see at Arsenal leaving it late again but the cloud had a silver lining as new signing Monreal advanced down the flank and cut back for Cazorla to net his 11th goal of the season and save the Gunners from a run of three defeats in a row at home for the 1st time since 2002.
So the pressure was somewhat lifted from Arsenal by this win which moved them to within a point of 4th placed rivals Spurs but the result condemned Villa to a place in the bottom three on goal difference and they will require the likes of Benteke, Weimann and Agbonlahor to score regularly if they hope to rescue their side from the drop.
Benteke has the relegation dog-fight to focus on before he can think about where his future may lie in the summer. Do you see the Belgian sensation staying at Villa Park beyond this season or would he be a good addition to the Gunners forward options?