Aston Villa: Benteke still absent

Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke

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Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke misses out on the visit of Crystal Palace on Boxing Day as he continues to recover from various injuries.

The Belgian international was a revelation last season, scoring 19 goals, form that caught the attention of a host of top clubs. However, the 23-year-old decided to pledge his allegiance to Aston Villa and it was hoped that he would continue where he left off.

Unfortunately, he failed to find the target in his last 10 completed matches, and decided to undergo physiotherapy for both knee and hip injuries in Antwerp. He has been under the care of national side physio Lieven Maesschalck, and will return to the UK at the weekend.

He hopes to be back in the squad for the home game with Swansea on Saturday, but if missing out, would be more than hopeful of lining up away to Sunderland on January 1.

Whether he is still at Villa Park come the end of the season remains open to conjecture as it has been reported that Atletico Madrid have Benteke lined up as a possible replacement for Diego Costa should he succumb to overtures from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United this summer.

During Benteke’s absence, Villa have lost their last three league matches, but face a Crystal Palace side languishing third from the bottom of the table with just four wins from 17 fixtures.

Kick off is at 3pm UK time on Boxing Day (Thursday 26th December)

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