Approaching winter and Aston Villa’s season is on the rocks. The Birmingham-based side find themselves drowning in the relegation zone and new manager Remi Garde faces an uphill struggle to bail out the Villans.
A 4-0 thrashing to Everton at the weekend saw the culmination of a sickening recent run of form. Villa have already racked up ten defeats and haven’t won in the league in over three months - it’s been a nightmare start.
However, if one man in the club’s depleted squad can stop the rot, it's Rudy Gestede.
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Many pundits and supporters have pointed the finger at Christian Benteke’s departure for Villa’s downward spiral, but Garde has a carbon copy of the Belgian ready-made on the bench.
Although Gestede possesses considerably less Premier League experience than Benteke, the pair have an identical goal tally in the league this term.
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The latter has been struck by a number of injuries but equally, Gestede has been provided with minimal ammunition at Villa Park.
Gestede’s thuggish physicality in the area and incisive finishing may prove the remedy for Villa’s bitter form.
Despite largely proving a failure at Cardiff City, Gestede took English football by storm during his brief Blackburn Rovers tenure. In just one-and-a-half seasons at Ewood Park, the 27-year-old scored 35 goals in just 73 appearances.
It was this astonishing goal record that saw Tim Sherwood snap up the forward in the summer.
Gestede has far from been a failure at Villa and has shown great promise, yet since Garde took charge, the Beninese forward hasn’t made the starting XI.
This is frankly unbelievable when you consider that Villa have only won thrice in all competitions this season and Gestede scored the only goal in two of those.
Moreover, his brace at Anfield shows the ex-Blackburn forward has the ability to cause the big teams problems if he gets the service. However, Villa’s blind persistence with passing football has seen Gestede starved of chances.
With Jordan Ayew struggling to make an impression, despite being handed consecutive starts under Garde, Gestede seems the obvious choice to bring the goals back to Villa Park.
The Beninese forward’s recent goal record speaks for itself and if Villa are to dodge the drop, then a rugged, no-nonsense striker such as himself may just prove the answer.
Villa’s season is slowly slipping away beyond the point of no return, something has to change to force an injection of goals.
Considering the side haven’t been in the second tier for over 20 years and won the European Cup in 1982, an Aston Villa relegation would undoubtedly be an English footballing tragedy. But unless things change it would prove a tragedy more and more probable by the day.