Friday, May 26, 2017

Surprising lack of goals for Crystal Palace despite array of attacking talent

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, English Premier League 13 Feb 2017

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Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has a tough task to get his side firing.

Crystal Palace suffered their fifth defeat in their last six games on Saturday, falling short to Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium without reply.

The Eagles remained in the relegation zone after another loss and have now failed to score in their fourth game of their last five.

Despite having so many attacking options and being an entertaining side going forward in the first-half of the campaign, the goals have dried up since the change in manager.

Allardyce surprisingly can’t get the best of Benteke

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke has been a particular disappointment since Allardyce was appointed manager in December. The Belgian international has scored just one league goal in eight games under the Eagles boss, having netted eight times in 15 prior to his arrival. Despite the former Liverpool centre-forward boasting all the attributes Allardyce normally looks for to provide the goals, something just isn’t clicking in recent months.

Benteke is a modern-day target man type of striker who can hold the ball up, win his aerial duels, and scores the majority of his goals inside the penalty area. He doesn’t often run the channels, making runs off the fullbacks into wide areas, but he can outmuscle defenders to steer crosses into the back of the net. As a result, it was assumed Palace would deliver balls into Benteke as much as possible to get the best of him, a common approach from any Allardyce side, but the Londoners just aren’t getting goals from the frontman.

Lack of quality from the wingers

Crystal Palace have Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend, Jason Puncheon and Jeffrey Schlupp as the options to play in wide areas, but clear-cut chances aren’t being created in games as much as many would expect. The Eagles have pace and power in abundance, but Zaha is the only player performing this season. Townsend was nearly offloaded during the January transfer window after a less-than-impressive spell at Selhurst Park, while Puncheon hasn’t scored and created a goal in his last 10 Premier League appearances.

There has been a real lack of quality coming from the wide men. 70% of Puncheon’s crosses (84) haven’t found their target, while Townsend has whipped 110 balls into the box that were inaccurate. No Palace winger has a pass completion percentage over 83% which also highlights a wastefulness in possession. Allardyce certainly has his work cut out to turn the club’s fortunes around, but he does have the personnel. Crystal Palace are 8/11 to get relegated from the Premier League this season, but can the goals come back to Selhurst Park?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crippy Cooke


Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.

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