Despite sitting rock bottom of the Premier League, Aston Villa have enjoyed something of a mini revival since the turn of the new year, picking up four points from a possible six.
The Villains scraped a 1-0 victory against Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace recently and fought back to claim a point against high-flying Leicester City last weekend.
Defeat looked imminent for Remi Garde's side against the Foxes until striker Rudy Gestede emerged from the bench to score a 75th-minute equaliser with a thumping finish, courtesy of a minor deflection.
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Despite enduring a largely torried season, the Benin international has chipped in with some vital goals, scoring four thus far and one less than top scorer Jordan Ayew.
The towering striker has proved a menace to defences this season with his physicality and aerial threat, and could prove vital to the club's bid to avoid relegation.
Of the 21 games Gestede has played in the league, 12 of those have come from the bench. However, if Villa are to get the best out of the 27-year-old, manager Garde must start playing him more often.
In the Beninese and fellow striker Libor Kozak, the French manager has two forwards moulded to a long ball style of play, much like the Stoke City of old under Tony Pulis.
Therefore, Villla must adapt to a philsophy whereby crosses are made and balls are fed into the feet or head of their strikers - and this is where Gestede will particularly thrive.
Against Leicester, upon the former Blackburn Rovers forward's arrival, the Villain's opted for a more direct style of play which the Foxes struggled to cope with.
Such an approach eventually paid off, when Gestede was given the ball to feet, muscled off Robert Huth and fired past Kasper Schmeichel.
Villa need a real miracle to beat the drop, without question, but to enhance their chances Gestede must feature from the outset and not merely as a substitute.
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