Saturday media watch [17.08.13 AM]: Arsenal match previews
Daily Express: Paul Lambert has told the rest of the Premier League that Christian Benteke can be an even bigger force this season. Benteke, signed for £8million from Genk a year ago, enjoyed a stunning debut campaign with Aston Villa, bagging 23 goals, 19 of them in the Premier League. That led to big interest this summer - from Tottenham in particular - and the £25m-rated forward rocked Villa Park by handing in a transfer request. But the Belgium international had a change of heart and he signed a double-your-money, £56,000-a-week deal which committed him to Villa until 2017. In pre-season, Benteke has picked up where he left off with seven goals, including a hat-trick inside 35 minutes versus Crewe and a brace against Malaga. And Lambert, whose side kick off their campaign at Arsenal today, believes there is still more to come from his crown jewel.
Daily Star: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has laughed off suggestions that striker Christian Benteke could be a one-season wonder. After scoring 23 goals in all competitions, the £25m-rated Belgian ace will be a marked man. But Lambert has no fears second-season syndrome could strike. Benteke's goals saved Villa from relegation last season and Lambert said: "I think he's just getting better. "He's grown in confidence, which is understandable. He's a big, big athlete and a top footballer. Looking at him since he came back from his break, he's been excellent." The 22-year-old has plundered seven goals in pre-season games.
Mirror: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists Christian Benteke will be even better this season despite his transfer request. Villa were worried they would lose star striker Benteke to Spurs in July when he asked to quit. But after smashing seven goals in four pre-season games since penning a new contract, the big Belgian is looking very sharp. The forward is now anxious to improve on his 23-goal haul from last season. And Lambert is backing the 22-year-old to continue his stunning development this term - starting at Arsenal today. Lambert said: "Looking at him since he's come back from his break and the games he's played, he's been excellent. "At this moment in time, in pre-season and in training, he's ready for it. "He's not lost his goal-scoring exploits. To me, Christian is just getting better. "He's grown in confidence a lot. He's a big, big athlete and a really top footballer."
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert will instruct youthful Villa to employ high-tempo tactics from the first whistle of the season when their bid to topple the Premier League big-boys kicks off at Arsenal. Ahead of today's trip to the Emirates, Lambert admits the claret and blues are better suited to an all-action style rather than trying to pick teams apart with a patient passing game. So he is hoping the relentless running of players like Andi Weimann can unsettle the Gunners.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has declared that there is more to Villa than Christian Benteke, insisting the claret and blues are not a one-man team. The Benteke factor has dominated the pre-season agenda with the Belgian striker smashing in seven goals in the friendlies after his transfer u-turn. It follows his stunning debut campaign where he hit 19 Premier League goals and four in the Capital One Cup. Benteke scored or created 48 per cent of Villa's top-flight goals last season and played a significant part in keeping them in the big time. But Lambert feels it is unfair on the rest of his players to ignore their contribution and give the 23-year-old frontman all the plaudits.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Jose Mourinho will be the reason Chelsea win back the Premier League title this season, according to Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer. The former England striker believes Mourinho's experience of the top flight will give Chelsea the edge over their rivals this season.
Sky Sports: Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho on a season long-loan. The France international, who was linked with a move to join Sunderland, has agreed to join Liverpool on an initial loan with a view to a permanent move.
BBC Sport: Ryan Giggs would not rule out taking a management role outside the Premier League when his Manchester United playing career ends. The 39-year-old Welsh veteran is set for a 22nd Premier League season, but combining playing with his first assistant coaching role.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.