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Can Villa score without Benteke?

We're playing this game again.

Stu Forster

Christian Benteke came very close to scoring on multiple occasions against Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday before getting sent off just over an hour into the match. Regardless of what your opinion is of the incident, Villa need someone to play upfront. Luckily against West Ham this Saturday, they will be back to playing with all 11 men. And they will need every one of them. Big Sam has the Irons playing attractive winning football, and they sit fifth in the table, only behind London rivals Arsenal on goal difference.

Contrary to their Claret and Blue counterparts from Birmingham, West Ham have actually been scoring goals this season. He wasn't even the most expensive striker purchased by Sam Allardyce in the summer, but Diafra Sahko has already scored six goals in seven appearances. That's more goals than Aston Villa have scored all season as a team!

A somewhat more unlikely dangerman has been Stewart Downing. The former Villa man has two goals and three assists so far. His replacement of sorts in B6, Charles N'Zogbia, has had a similarly troubled past couple years. The fellow right winger looked lively last week in the loss to Spurs, so maybe Paul Lambert will decide to go with him again.

Someone will need to provide a spark for the side, after six straight losses and finally the completion of the "tough" part of the schedule. We talked on the Holtecast about how Jack Grealish probably isn't ready, but also the fact that there aren't too many other options. Could we see Leandro Bacuna make a return to the squad? Should Darren Bent play up front? There are plenty of options for Lambert to choose from, but are any of them actually good options?

Fortunately, Andi Weimann broke the goalless drought, and he figures to start again. Gabby Agbonlahor could start alongside him, as his pace could make Saturday a living nightmare for James Collins. A 4-4-2 could be a good way to get back to the basics.

Possible lineups:

Aston Villa (4-<4>-2): Brad Guzan; Matt Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos, Aly Cissokho; Carlos Sánchez, Ashley Westwood, Tom Cleverley, Charles N'Zogbia, Andi Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor.

West Ham (4-3-3): Adrián; Carl Jenkinson, James Collins, Winston Reid, Aaron Cresswell, Mark Noble, Alex Song, Cheikhou Kouyaté; Stewart Downing, Enner Valencia, Morgan Amalfitano.

Do you think there is a way that this team will score goals? Let us know in the comments why or why not!

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