Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke earned his side a point with a second-half header against Everton on Friday night, and has enjoyed a dream start to life in London.
The Belgian international was frozen out after a failed spell with Liverpool, but finally looks at home with a side who play to his strengths.
Crystal Palace’s tactics perfect for Benteke
Prior to his move to Selhurst Park, Crystal Palace and West Ham United were the two sides linked with Christian Benteke, then of Liverpool. With the Belgian centre-forward failing to shine at Liverpool due to a contrasting style of play and heightened expectation, he was keen to join a side who would play to his strengths. Palace and West Ham perfectly fit the bill at the time given their respective penchant for whipping numerous balls into the box, and Benteke is now flourishing with the former.
The 25-year-old has scored three goals in five Premier League games for Crystal Palace, helping to earn the side seven points against Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Everton. Benteke has thrived on the support from the Eagles midfielders, with the London outfit boasting the most crosses per game this season, and it’s so far paying dividends with the £32M-man consistently on the scoresheet.
Manager’s faith restoring Benteke’s confidence
At Liverpool, Christian Benteke’s confidence was at an all-time low. He struggled with the pressure of his place being up for grabs should he have one bad game for the Merseysiders, but at Crystal Palace the Belgian is thriving as a result of Alan Pardew’s faith in him. Benteke feels the love of the players and coaching staff around him, and with the London club paying so much money to sign him, he knows that he’s wanted in the side.
The former Aston Villa man knew he was a square peg trying to fit into a round hole at Liverpool, and struggled from the off to match the style of play demanded of him. As a target man, Benteke didn’t possess the movement required and failed to make a telling impact as a result. His goals came when balls were played into the box, rather than through intricate passing between the lines. Benteke knew his days were numbered, and he didn’t feel confident on the pitch as a result.
Now he’s the main man at Crystal Palace, the 25-year-old will relish lining up for the Eagles to shoulder the scoring burden. He has a midfield willing to whip balls into him at every given opportunity, and such overall faith has done wonders to build up his confidence again.