Gestede’s derby winner papers over Villa cracks up front

In the aftermath of Aston Villa’s timely derby win over Birmingham, manager Tim Sherwood lamented the return of points his side have collected in relation to their performance levels, but this only confirms the root cause of a problem in his squad.

Take nothing away from Rudy Gestede’s movement and crisp header which ultimately downed the Blues at a cauldron-like Villa Park to book a fourth-round Capital One Cup slot.

However, the former Blackburn ace’s other goal for his new employers – against Bournemouth on the opening day of the season – remains the only one in the Premier League netted between the Benin international and the other recognised strikers at the club.

The strike which did for the Cherries was another towering header, quite clearly the chief weapon in 6ft4” Gestede’s armoury, something Sherwood knew he’d be getting when forking out £15m this summer.

The cynics out there may point out this attribute on its own will not be sufficient for regular scoring at the highest level though, while Bournemouth’s defence, despite their promotion, and certainly Birmingham’s, offer the same challenge Gestede was facing during his prolific 2014/15 Championship campaign.

Gestede may well prove to be a fine purchase, but he desperately needs support from misfiring duo Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jordan Ayew, if Villa are to avoid getting ensconced in yet another relegation dog fight.

Only Sunderland at 1/7 are more likely to go down than the 21/10-rated Villans according to Ladbrokes ahead of their Anfield trip.

Agbonlahor hasn’t troubled a top-flight scoreboard since March, while Ayew has provided the odd flash of brilliance in his short time in claret and blue, yet has also drawn exasperated groans as well.

There are of course other rays of light poking through in an attacking sense, such as top scorer Scott Sinclair, fan favourite Jack Grealish and wing wizard Carles Gil to bring hope of ascension this season.

Every club needs their centre-forwards to fire though, and in this department Villa’s transfer window business, with Christian Benteke departing, is now looking a little naive.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.