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Stat Pack: Benteke in top three of 2013 with Suarez and Bale
Check out the pre-match facts and figures.
14th Mar 2013
Stat Pack: Benteke in top three of 2013 with Suarez and Bale


In our weekly partnership with the guys over at WhoScored.com, their statisticians take a look at Villa's form ahead of this weekend's massive match against QPR.

Harry Redknapp's side will be confident after back-to-back wins but Villa come into the game off a crucial victory of their own and the improvements have been there for all to see since the turn of the year.

Defensively Villa have looked stronger of late, only conceding more than once in a tough away game at the Emirates in their last four matches - and the return of Ron Vlaar has certainly been a timely boost.

They'll need to be at their best to keep out a Rangers side that have found their form in front of goal with five goals in wins over Southampton and Sunderland.

But in terms of overall play, Villa should have plenty of the ball come Saturday.

QPR have averaged less possession than any other side in 2013 with 39.4%, while Villa's average of 44.2% is respectable given that five of their nine games in that time have been against teams in the top half.

The pass accuracy of the hosts of 76% is also up on that of QPR with 71% since the start of January, while they have also averaged more shots per game than their opponents this year - 11.9 to 10.7.

When it comes to Paul Lambert's side's potency in front of goal there is no avoiding top scorer Christian Benteke.

The big Belgian is already a fan favourite at Villa Park having settled in magnificently since his summer switch and the 22-year-old is getting better by the week.

This becomes increasingly apparent when looking at his league stats for Villa in 2012 compared to those in the New Year.

Benteke

His tally of seven goals in nine league appearances in 2013 is only bettered by the league's top scorer Luis Suarez with nine - and his statistical rating from WhoScored has rocketed.

Over those nine games Benteke has an average rating of 7.93 and since the turn of the year only the aforementioned Suarez with 8.24 and Bale with 8.38 have a better figure.

While he has had more shots per game with 3.44, made more key passes per game with 1.44 and won more aerial duels per game with 11.1 in 2013, the most dramatic improvement has been his finishing.

His chance conversion rate in the seventeen league appearances he made in 2012 was a modest 9.8%, but as he has acclimatised to the standard of England's top-flight Benteke's respective figures have soared.

With his seven goal tally in 2013 coming from just thirty-one shots, the Belgium international's conversion rate in that time is way up at 22.6%, which is better than any of the other top nine scorers in the Premier League over the same period.

While Liverpool have Luis Suarez and United have Robin van Persie, Benteke has been just as vital to his team this season.

The three games in which Villa have faced QPR since the Hoops return to the Premier League have all ended in draw.

But here's hoping the striker can prove to be the difference at Villa Park on Saturday.

You can follow the game with all the live detailed stats and player ratings here.

*WhoScored.com is a unique website and one of the fastest growing in the sports industry, specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.

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