By Josh Powell | Arsenal v Aston Villa
One win in the last nine league games.
Dumped out of the domestic cups by Millwall and Bradford.
Living in the Midlands.
Things are pretty poor if you’re an Aston Villa fan right now.
Luckily, there is a way you can still cheer on the Villains and win enough money to pay for a week in the sun, even if they keep on losing.
Christian Benteke has been the one shining light for Aston Villa in a season that has been as miserable as a dinner date with Mark Lawrenson. The 22-year-old Belgian striker arrived at Villa Park from Genk at the start of the season. At £7 million looks like one of the summer’s best buys.
Aston Villa fans might not have too much to cheer about but Benteke is going some way to funding faithful fans’ holidays. As of February 21, he has knocked in 11 goals and is single-handedly keeping Villa afloat.
You’d either have to be Benteke’s mum or an incredibly loyal supporter to back the Belgian to score first each week but it is proving a highly profitable investment.
Benteke has scored first four times this season, and if you put a tenner on him each week to score first you’d have a tidy profit of £155 from Paddy Power. You’d be up just £145 with Skybet, £115 with Ladbrokes and £110 with Coral.
Paddy goes even further for punters by offering them each-way odds on first goalscorer bets. Every match Paddy puts a comforting arm around punters and pays out five places at 1/3 odds. If you had put £10 each-way on Benteke every week you would be up even more, showing a healthy profit of £265. Again you’d be up just £255 Skybet and £230 with Ladbrokes.
The Villa striker has been influential in trying to save Villa’s season. He gets in more shots a game than Sergio Aguero or Carlos Tevez at Manchester City and he is unselfish at the same time. Benteke has played 34 key passes this season which is more than Oscar at Chelsea (33), United’s Antonia Valencia (26) and Theo Walcott at Arsenal (24).
There’s every chance Benteke can make punters even more money this weekend as Villa travel to the Emirates to play Arsenal. From space the gap in the Gunners’ defence can be seen and Benteke is 10/1 to take advantage and open the scoring.
It definitely won’t be fun watching Aston Villa scrap it out near the drop zone for the next 12 games, but it would certainly be easier if there was a free holiday at the end of it.