Christian Benteke has had quite the journey as a Premier League star. The unknown striker signed for Aston Villa from Genk in 2012 and earned the nickname Bente-goal by teammates and fans.

After enjoying a goalscoring debut against Swansea, the Belgium international scored goals for fun as he quickly built a reputation of a fearsome centre-forward. His manager Paul Lambert summed up his impact in that first season “ Benteke has been unbelievable”. 

READ ALSO: Ings or Calvert-Lewin, Who is England’s most-improved striker?

Inverted wingers: A modern-day evolution

His raw energy, aerial prowess, clinical finishing and physicality suited the Premier League perfectly as he finished runner-up to Gareth Bale for the PFA Young Player of the Year award, having scored 19 times in the League. The tally made Benteke the first Villa player to score 20 goals since 2003 and first to score more than 18 in the league since Dwight Yorke.

Benteke during his prolific spell at Aston Villa. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Benteke shot The Villains past Liverpool to get to the 2015 FA Cup final which they lost 4-0 to Arsenal. Nevertheless, by sending them to a first Cup final in 15 years, he had spectacularly made his mark in Birmingham as he scored 11 times under Tim Sherwood’s caretaker spell and almost single-handedly kept them in the league.

READ ALSO: Why Liverpool’s unbeaten streak came to an end

After scoring 42 times in 89 league games, Benteke earned a move to Liverpool that summer, at the time becoming their second-most expensive transfer. However, a decent first season where he scored 10 goals – including that memorable bicycle kick against Manchester United on Anthony Martial’s debut – did not earn the Belgian enough game time as he struggled to adapt under Jürgen Klopp who had taken over mid-season.

Benteke in Liverpool colours. (AFP)

A move to Crystal Palace looked like the kind of enabling environment Benteke needed to reignite his career. Besides notching 15 league goals and memorably inflicting Liverpool’s last home league defeat to date in his first season, injuries have blighted his progress as he failed to recapture his ruthless form.
The Belgium international has suffered a calamitous loss of confidence in subsequent seasons, scoring only twice in 36 league appearances since the start of last term. There have been several big chances wasted and an important penalty miss along the way.
 On the other hand, Jordan Ayew has stepped up to the goalscoring burden on the Eagles this season.

Benteke’s goal celebration has been as rare as the confidence it oozes. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Benteke’s trademark goal celebration, a muted puffed-out chest pose, speaks of a confident goal-getter; devastatingly, that has now become rare as his goals.
Having signed a one-year extension on his Palace contract last October, Bentegoal has ample time to renew his reputation as one of the Premier League’s deadliest strikers. 

To recapture his best form, he must stay fit.

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Blog Meets Brand