Streaky Benteke on course to land Aston Villa a top-half finish

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Aston Villa’s first-half blitz helped them ease to a 4-1 win over Norwich, ending a four-game wait for a Premier League win and putting seven points between themselves and the relegation zone in the process.

It was little surprise that Christian Benteke was the muse for a return to winning ways as he scored half of Villa’s tally, one of which came via a rocketing over-the-shoulder volley.

It’s no coincidence that the last time the Belgian scored was also the last time Villa won a game, and with Benteke a streaky scorer, Villa can start to crane their necks skyward rather than staring down at the relegation scrap.

Paul Lambert’s side are a very tantalising 10/3-shot to finish inside the top half this season, and as they currently sit level on points with West Ham in 11th, their price should certainly be snapped up sooner rather than later if Benteke is going to keep firing them to wins.

Prior to the Norwich double, the 23-year-old had scored his goals in two bunches. He opened the campaign with five goals in six outings before needing to spend time in the physio room with injury.

He then scored in three games running during January to take his seasonal tally to eight and continue his knack for notching in fits and starts.

In his 23-goal debut term Benteke only failed to follow up a goal with a net rippler in his next outing four times and considering he’s such an important cog in Villa’s winning wheel, the upcoming streak he’s about to go on only bodes well.

Villa face Chelsea next on March 15, but they are an opposition the former Genk forward has relished, scoring twice in three outings.

With Stoke, the struggling Manchester United, Fulham and Crystal Palace all following that match, Benteke’s goals could seal a top-half standing well before the season reaches the home straight.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.