Crystal Palace recorded their largest ever away win in the Premier League after a 5-1 win at West Brom on Sunday. Wilfried Zaha returned and to no surprise, was instrumental with two goals and a hand in the own goal.
However, it was Christian Benteke’s performance which took some by surprise. The Belgian frontman was making his first Premier League start of the season and ended the game with two well-taken goals.
Before the match, Palace manager Roy Hodgson described how Benteke had ‘worked hard to earn his opportunity. Up until this point, the forward had been limited to substitute cameos behind Jordan Ayew and Belgian teammate Michy Batshuayi.
Benteke’s performance highlighted that there Is still a highly skilled player at the Eagles’ disposal. The link up play between Zaha and Benteke was refreshing and created a dynamic that hadn’t been seen all season.
The big Belgian showed his dominance in holding up the ball and creating space for his teammates. His unselfish movement and running left huge gaps for Zaha and Eberechi Eze to exploit.
Both of Benteke’s goals finished off slick counters by the Eagles and the second goal, in particular, indicated the forward’s confidence was growing.
Palace looked far less one dimensional with Benteke leading the line, and the service up to him was noticeably improved. This alongside the confidence from scoring has given many fans and critics optimism that he can get back to his best.
The performance was something Palace fans thought they may never see again from Benteke.
Now the forward has almost certainly earned himself a starting place for the next match. It begs the question could this finally be the run he needs to regain his reputation.
Any further improvement to Benteke’s form will only be a good thing for Crystal Palace. However, the long-term future of the Belgian still remains. His £120,000 per week contract expires next Summer.
If Sunday’s game is anything to go by, Crystal Palace could have a real Benteke dilemma on their hands at the end of the season.
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