Crystal Palace may be three points clear of the relegation zone but they could be in for a tough few weeks ahead.
Wilfried Zaha has been the club’s standout performer this season. He was their best player again in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday. But it came at a cost. The winger suffered a knee injury that could rule him out for a month.
Without him, Palace will lose much of their attacking spark. It’s time for Christian Benteke to deliver for the Eagles.
The former Liverpool striker has had a very poor season so far and only scored two league goals.
It’d be understandable if he was getting much service. However, he’s missed big chances at key moments. Even in the game against Newcastle, he wasted two great opportunities to score.
The Eagles have a tough fixture list coming up. They travel to Everton on Saturday as 23/10 underdogs. Then they face a daunting run of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Without Zaha’s speed and skill, Roy Hodgson will want Benteke to use his physicality to occupy the defenders and hold up the ball, as well as provide a goal threat.
He may not get many clear sights of goal in the next few weeks. The 27-year-old will need to take advantage when he does.
Palace are currently 14th and 6/1 to go down. But it’s so tight at the bottom that the situation could change drastically with one bad result. There are only three points separating West Ham United in 12th from Huddersfield Town in 19th.
If Hodgson’s side are going to guarantee their safety, Benteke needs to make a bigger contribution in the next few weeks.
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