For just the second time in the Premier League history, Crystal Palace managed to comeback from a 2-goal deficit to win a game, on their trip to the Stadium of Light this weekend. Belgian international Christian Benteke headed in Lee Chung Yong’s free-kick deep in stoppage time to give the Eagles all three points from the game. This took Pardew’s side to a tally of 10 points in the first 6 games of the season keeping them in the top half of the table.
The joint highest goal-scorer for the side, Christian Benteke, seemed to have settled in well, initially at least, at the Selhurst Park and has already won the club a few points. He was an impressive player who almost single-handedly kept Aston Villa in the top flight a couple of seasons ago and though his time at Anfield was not successful, he seems to have found a new home at Palace this season
The 25-year old is one of the most consistent goal scorers in the country but has not been able to settle at a club for the long term. His successful time at Villa came to an end when Liverpool came calling, but now that Palace have invested on him, he is already reaping some benefits. A strong and imposing striker, who knows his way to the goal, Benteke is more than a decent finisher. He has his moments at times but is generally a natural goal scoring threat for his side. He is strong through the air adding a dangerous threat to the team in the final third and Alan Pardew will know that if he can set up his team around him, he can grow into a top class striker.
At the Stadium of Light, Benteke wore a lone figure for most of the time he was on the pitch and failed to see a lot of the ball. He was an effective target man who helped Palace when they were pinned back by holding up the ball and adding players to the attack. He failed to make any dribbles or take ons on the night but was a constant threat in the final third when Palace got the ball into attacking areas.
His goal at the end was a clear example of his poacher’s instinct that saw him evade his player and head the ball into the back of the net. He is not a player who will dazzle his way through a group of defenders but he will surely provide Palace with that bit extra that they need to beat teams around them in the points table.
Even in the game against the Black Cats, Papy Djilobodji and Lamine Koné were too hot to handle for the Belgian as he found it hard to create and space or time for himself. Yet, he managed to get Palace 2 extra points from a tie that looked over in the first half.
It is still a new set-up for the 25-year who is now playing at his third club in the last three years. He will need to time to settle down, and understand his role in the side. He will hit his peak in a year or two and if he can keep learning and improve his overall game, he can be the man that can lead Palace to compete for a place in Europe. He will be full of confidence with the start to the season and will only get better the more time he is out on the field with his side.
Do you think Christian Benteke will justify his price tag and turn into a top class striker for the Eagles?