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Christian Benteke can hit the ground running at Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is the quintessential target man and should thrive on the endless crosses being whipped into the box.

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke is the quintessential target man and should thrive on the endless crosses being whipped into the box.

Crystal Palace recently confirmed the signing of Belgian striker Christian Benteke in a bid to bolster their impotent attack, and the 25-year-old man will have a point to prove after his failed spell at Liverpool.

New teammate Damien Delaney highlighted how good support will see him shine this season, and support from cross-happy wingers is something Palace have in abundance.

Benteke’s Premier League scoring record bodes well for Palace

Goals were a problem for Crystal Palace in 2015/16. The Eagles were the joint-third-lowest scorers in the Premier League with 39 goals from 38 games, while having failing to score in 14 outings. In the second-half of the previous season, Crystal Palace scored just 16 goals from their last 19 games, which led to them winning only twice in 2016. They’ve been desperate for a goalscorer.

And in Benteke, Palace have one. The former Aston Villa and Liverpool centre-forward still managed nine goals in 14 Premier League starts during a forgettable spell with the Reds, and was impressive in regard to goal-getting with Villa too. The Belgian scored 42 goals in 82 league starts at Villa Park, and has an obvious skill-set that should flourish with Palace’s attacking personnel.

Cross-happy wingers should create chances for Benteke

Crystal Palace have favoured physicality and aerial superiority in attack over a diminutive pacey forwards, but the likes of Connor Wickham hasn’t had the finishing touch to go with it. With pacey wingers who can whip a lot of crosses into the box, all the Eagles have needed is a player to convert the balls in. Benteke won 686 aerial duels in his three Premier League seasons with Aston Villa, and has scored 16 headed goals since his introduction to the English top-flight, which sees him with the second-most amount of headed efforts since 2012/13. He should be perfect for Palace.

The 25-year-old is a presence in the box as a result, but he’s also good at converting crosses with his feet. With Crystal Palace comfortably having made more crosses in the Premier League last season (969), Benteke will be given many opportunities to muscle of competition in the box to steer balls into the back of the net. With 83% of his shots coming inside the penalty area, Benteke should thrive on the support from the Palace wide men, and has scoring record echoes as such. Christian Benteke is 33/1 to finish as the top Premier League this season, but can he hit the ground running for his new club?

Mon 22 Aug, 2016
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