When the Belgian striker signed a new long term contract – a huge change of heart from the international who had submitted a transfer request just a few weeks before – many fans rejoiced. It was like a new marquee signing had walked through the doors at Villa Park.
Praise for Paul Lambert was in abundance. Instead of spending the summer scratching his head, searching frantically for a replacement, Lambert was able to look at other areas where the team needed strengthening. In reality, replacing Benteke and his influence would have been near enough impossible for Villa. The striker has either scored or assisted in more than half of the Midlands club’s goals last season.
With all the focus on Benteke, Premier League fans could be forgiven for forgetting that there have actually been seven incoming players at Villa Park in the past few months. These purchases include significant fees for Czech Republic striker Libor Kozak from Lazio and Danish hitman Nicklas Helenius. Jores Okore and Leandro Bacuna have also been purchased by Lambert who clearly did his research before signing these young players in a style that has become typical of his management method at Aston Villa.
Using a 4-3-3 formation typical of Lambert’s Villa side, here is an XI Lambert could have had at his disposal.