Rewind back 12 months and it was Darren Bent that was heavily odds-on to be Aston Villa’s top scorer, but he mustered just three Premier League goals and only eight top-flight starts as he was phased out to be replaced by Christian Benteke.
Paul Lambert’s decision was justified as Benteke’s 19 league goals was 40 per cent of Villa’s overall total and therefore it is no surprise that the Belgian finds himself at 1/5 to top the club’s scoring charts in the forthcoming campaign.
Some punters may be concerned that lightning could strike twice, especially with Villa bringing in Robert Helenius to boost their striking options this summer, but there really is no competition to Benteke in this market, unless of course he gets injured long term.
Having u-turned on his transfer request, Benteke has since signed an extension at Villa Park, although there is still every possibility that he will move onto bigger things next summer after another productive season and World Cup.
His worth to Villa is of the highest value and it is no coincidence that his pre-season return coincided with the club’s first victory, a 6-1 triumph over Crewe where Benteke helped himself to a hat-trick.
Not that it should come down to this, but Benteke is also Villa’s penalty taker to add an extra string to his bow and with the pace of Andreas Weimann and Gabby Agbonlahor a big threat on the counter attack, it would be no surprise to see Villa profit from their fair share of spot-kicks.
Agbonlahor could prove the biggest threat at 12/1 after finishing last season with six goals in his last nine appearances, but 13 goals remains his best ever return and this is unlikely to be enough to challenge Benteke.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.