Football

Christian Benteke's revival gives Aston Villa hope of FA Cup success

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As another season of English football comes to a close, the FA Cup final serves up a classic David versus Goliath match-up in the form of Arsenal versus Aston Villa.

The Gunners are strong favourites to secure the trophy for successive seasons however will have to overcome a spirited, hard-working team under the management of Tim Sherwood.

Aston Villa are coming off the back of a number of disappointing displays in the league, however they did achieve their goal of Premier League survival, albeit in a worryingly low 17th position.

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The Villans had been threatened by the possibility of relegation for most of  the season and, until the arrival of Sherwood, were becoming more and more likely candidates for the drop as the rounds of matches went by.

The two league games between the teams this season have been barely competitive, with Arsenal coming out as convincing victors with 3-0 and 5-0 victories. It was a fortnight after that crushing 5-0 defeat that saw the removal of Paul Lambert as manager and replacing him with the former Spurs manager.

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Leandro Bacuna deserves credit

The improvement in results since then has been down to one single tactic; getting more balls to their target-man, Christian Benteke. The sides change in style of play saw more searching balls for the Belgian from the likes of Fabian Delph and Tom Cleverley.

However a new star, Leandro Bacuna, must also be recognised as part of the revival of Villa's main hitman. Bacuna, who started the last nine matches for the club, registered four assists for the Belgian, only Cesc Fabregas recorded more assists for a single player (six assists for Costa). 

Since Sherwood's arrival Benteke has made 13 appearances and has scored 11 goals, including their leveler against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final. His 11 goals have come from just 15 shots on target, showing how clinical the striker can be if given a chance.

Nonetheless Arsenal are still rightly favourites to retain their FA Cup crown, which will deny Villa a place in the Europa League in the process, but cutting off Villa's supply to Benteke at source will still be crucial.

However, this is unlikely to be a game that the Gunners can afford to switch off defensively, with Villa's star striker looking to add to his impressive goal tally for the close of another hectic season of football. 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Christian Benteke
FA Cup
Arsenal
Aston Villa

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