Friday night’s game saw Christian Benteke produce a stunning header to level the scores at 1-1, prompting a superb statistical feature which looks at the Belgian’s aerial prowess compared to every other player in the Premier League.
Whilst everyone knew that the towering frontman was an outstanding aerial threat when Palace first decided to lay out the £30 million necessary to lure him away from Liverpool, his subsequent impact has been immense. Alongside his sublime touch and fantastic hold-up play, Christian has scored three goals already, all with his head, against Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Everton respectively.
When compared with his his fellow countryman and opponent on Friday night Romelu Lukaku it’s certainly a tight race but one that, for the moment, Benteke is winning. In truth, his mere presence at Selhurst Park acts as a sign of the off-field progress Crystal Palace have made since rejoining English football’s top tier in 2013, highlighting the chasm in quality between the players we could attract then and now.
Alan Pardew took a moment on Friday evening to admit that the squad need to try and work the ball into the striker’s feet as well as his head in the weeks to come, but with Wilfried Zaha having publicly spoken of his amazement at Benteke’s aerial prowess in the time since he’s arrived in SE25, it’s little wonder we’re floating balls into the box whenever the opportunity presents itself.
There was a great deal of chatter regarding the respective talents of Benteke and Lukaku prior to Friday night’s game but as the dust settles on a hard fought 1-1 draw, few would disagree that the Palace man has provided the best headed goal of the season to date.
He really is a phenomenal footballer.