Aston Villa supporters have been pretty downbeat in recent times after seeing their side suffer a second Championship defeat of the season at the weekend.
Steve Bruce’s men went into their clash with Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park off the back of beating Rotherham United 2-0 in their previous league encounter, and thus seeking back-to-back wins for the second time this season. Yet the Villans were unable to do so as goals from Marco Matias and Steven Fletcher either side of a stunning John McGinn strike sealed a 2-1 victory for the Owls, thus prompting several boos from home supporters at the final whistle.
As such, there have been many despondent and angry Villa fans up and down the country in recent times, with plenty likely to be wondering exactly what has gone wrong for their side in the last few years, going from an established top-flight team to one sat 13th in the second tier.
And some of their demise can be put down to the departure of striker Christian Benteke back in 2015, as while the Villans made a sizable £25.5 million profit on the Belgium international, they simply haven’t been the same since he left.
Ultimately, the 27-year-old made the £7 million move to Villa Park back in 2012 after impressing at Belgian side Genk, and he more than proved his worth at the Midlands giants during his three-year stint at the club, becoming arguably their most important asset during that time.
The striker netted 19 Premier League goals in his first season with the Villans to help them to a 15th place finish under Paul Lambert, before backing that up with ten the season after as Lambert’s men again avoided relegation, this time finishing five points clear of danger.
And his final campaign at Villa was also a success given Benteke bagged 13 goals in just 29 league games to help the club narrowly avoid relegation to the Championship, eventually finishing just a place and three points clear of the bottom three.
Thus, there is little doubting that the 27-year-old’s goals kept the Villans in the top-flight in those three seasons at the club, which was evidenced even further the campaign after as, following his departure to Liverpool for £32.5 million, the Midlands giants finished bottom of the Premier League, and scored the fewest of any side in the division that season.
That season in particular was a shambles and highlighted just how reliant they were on the goals of Benteke to keep them in the top-flight – yes, things maybe aren’t going great for the Belgian at present at Crystal Palace, but Villa certainly owe him a lot for the role he played in keeping them up.
And given they are still languishing in the Championship, having struggled in their first season in the second tier before losing in the play-off final last term, it’s clear that the club simply hasn’t been the same since they lost Benteke to Liverpool in the summer of 2015.
Yes, they needed the money generated from his departure to help them remain afloat, but on the field his exit was felt hugely, with Villa still recovering even now from losing their talisman little over three years ago.
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