Lambert relishes Benteke return

December 02, 2014
Football - Premier League - Bet Now at Bet365

Manager Paul Lambert has hailed the returning Christian Benteke as 'one of the best strikers in Europe' ahead of Aston Villa's crunch clash with Crystal Palace.

The 23-year-old Belgian frontman has been a peripheral figure for Villa last season, suffering with injury before a red card against Tottenham resulted in a three-match ban.

However, Benteke, 11/2 to open the scoring, is now available again for Villa at Selhurst Park, with Lambert desperate to see his side ease the pressure brought about by a run of nine Premier League games without a victory.

"We will have Christian back, that's a big plus for us," Lambert told reporters. "He offers you that focal point, but he's also excellent with his feet and he's a goal threat.

"When he's on his game, I think he's one of the best in Europe, let alone Britain.

"I've seen some brilliant strikers in my time and, when he's on his game, that guy is up there."

Villa have slipped to within two points of the relegation zone as a result of their slump in form, with Palace two places better off, but also on 13 points after 13 games played.

Last season both meetings of the two sides ended 1-0 to the Eagles, with the clash in the capital being settled by a late Jason Puncheon strike.

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