It was a difficult afternoon for Roy Hodgson and Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Eagles travelled to Goodison Park to play Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton. In terms of possession, Palace were in the superiority managing 54% compared to their opponents’ 46%, but they failed to make it count. The final score was 3-1 to the Toffees and, considering they had eight shots on target to the guests’ two, it was a deserved victory.
This defeat sees Palace remain on 30 points, and there were few positives to be taken from the match. However, one of the bright sparks on an otherwise disappointing day was the performance of Christian Benteke.
For the first time this season, the 29-year-old got himself on the scoresheet. It was a tad fortunate – Jordan Pickford really should have done better in goal for the hosts – but, as they say, they all count. There were other facets of his play that will have impressed his boss as well.
With two key passes, he led the way amongst his teammates, whilst he also completed one of the two dribbles he attempted. Known for his ability to compete in the air – he has won 4.8 aerial duels per Premier League match so far this term – he won seven out of the 15 he contested this time around.
It was a disappointing transfer window for Palace. They appeared to be close to signing Jarrod Bowen – they even had a bid accepted for the 23-year-old – but in the end he transferred to West Ham instead. Whilst not a natural striker, the 16 Championship goals he managed from the right-wing indicated he would bring a prolific edge to Selhurst Park. However, failing to sign the former Hull man left Hodgson perhaps light in attack.
But, even though it has been a difficult campaign for £11.7m-valued Benteke – as per Transfermarkt – this could be a step in the right direction for the Belgium international. This is a man who can be fantastic in the box – he scored 15 goals in his first league campaign with Palace, and netted at least 10 in each campaign in England’s top tier whilst at Aston Villa. It may be a bit late to match those tallies this term, but Hodgson will be hoping he can soften that transfer window blow from now until the end of the season.