Reading and Aston Villa clash at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday in a game that both teams desperately need to win as they search for a route out of the bottom three of the Premier League.
After a disastrous Christmas and new year period, Villa find themselves embroiled in a relegation scrap and their record of one win in the past 11 games has to be improved upon as soon as possible if they are to avoid the drop come May.
If they are to save themselves, then Villa will be looking towards the very broad shoulders of Belgian striker Christian Benteke to fire the goals and win them games.
Paul Lambert and his coaching staff will hope that Benteke can start by finding the back of the net against Reading, who are just a point behind Villa in 19th place, when they travel to Berkshire this weekend.
The 22-year-old scored the only goal of the game when the two sides met at Villa Park earlier this season and has scored a further ten goals in the league to comfortably make him the club’s leading scorer, with his closest challenger being Andreas Weimann on five.
Benteke hasn’t scored since Villa’s last win at West Ham in mid-February, but his overall record sees him installed as 9/5 joint favourite alongside Reading’s Adam Le Fondre to strike on Saturday afternoon.
Not only is Benteke the top scorer, he is also something of a lucky charm as his team have only lost once in a match in which he has scored (a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United), so if he can find the net, then Villa will look good odds to win at 2/1 or secure a draw at 11/5, while Reading will feel confident of winning at 27/20 if they can keep the bustling forward at bay.
Punters registering with bwin today can claim a free £20 bet and placing this on Benteke to score at any time would return a cool £56 if successful.
While both clubs need the three points, the match at the Madejski perhaps holds more significance for Reading as they face trips to Manchester United and Arsenal in their next two fixtures and games against Man City and Liverpool before the season is out as well.
The Royals have lost three on the bounce to find themselves mired in the relegation zone, but one crumb of comfort to take into this game is that they have scored in 11 of their previous 12 games in all competitions.
With Villa conceding 33 goals on the road, Reading look a good bet to put themselves on the score sheet at 11/50.
But Brian McDermott’s men have shipped eight goals in four games in front of their home supporters, so 31/50 on both teams scoring looks an equally strong option and this is where the majority of my stake will be going – with a small play on Benteke scoring at 9/5 added for further intrigue.