What Tactical Tweaks Are Needed For Palace To Get The Best Out Of Benteke?

0 Posted by - March 22, 2017 - Daily Thoughts, Detailed Analysis, News

After spending upwards of £30 million to lure Christian Benteke away from Liverpool last summer, Crystal Palace are yet to see the Belgian frontman replicate his best form in red and blue, so what can be done to change that?

This excellent feature explores the best tactical approach Palace can adopt to get their star striker firing on all cylinders. 

Having made a name for himself as a physical force of nature when leading the line at Aston Villa a few years ago, many in SE25 had assumed that our search for a bonafide goalscorer was over when Steve Parish splashed the cash on Big Ben in August. Unfortunately, despite a record of 11 goals in 30 appearances for the Eagles so far, many remain unconvinced that the former Liverpool man is doing enough to justify his transfer fee, thanks in no small part to his fluffed chances in the closing stages of our win over Watford last weekend. 

A large chunk of the frustration Palace fans are feeling in relation to the 26-year-old comes from the knowledge that he is capable of doing so much more when utilised correctly; a fact that the article attached at the top of the page goes to great lengths to pick apart piece by piece. No striker can score the sort of goals Christian did for Aston Villa by sheer fluke, he’s more than capable of hitting those heights again, we just need to find a way of coaxing it out of him by tweaking our tactical approach accordingly. 

Admittedly, the last three Premier League games we’ve played have seen a startling upturn in our form but every victory has come without a goal from the man spearheading the team’s attack; whatever way you slice it, that is a trend which cannot continue for too long. 

We now have another weekend off before travelling to face the seemingly unstoppable train that is Antonio Conte’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at the start of April. You would assume Benteke will have to be at the top of his game if we are to come away from the King’s Road with anything to our name that day. 

Perhaps we’ll tweak our style in line with the suggestions made in the piece at the top of the page, we’ll find out soon enough. 

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  • Richard C March 22, 2017 - 8:03 am Reply

    Simple, we need a proper no.10

    • admin March 22, 2017 - 8:08 am Reply

      It’s a fair point, although I would worry about the steel we’d be sacrificing in the middle of the park by using one. Do you agree, Richard?

    • Jose Fonte baby? Jose Fonte? Oh oh oh March 22, 2017 - 10:45 am Reply

      Between Cabeye and Punch there should be enough central creativity.

      No10s are on the decline again. Ozil, Bojan, Ramirez and Tadic have all found themselves out of form, favour or position this season while many teams have opted to play another striker, midfielder or even wide player in the role. Even Spurs, who in theory play two No10s, actually use them as wide false 9s.

      • admin March 22, 2017 - 10:51 am Reply

        I’d go along with this JFB. It’s also worth remembering that Palace have always thrived on their use of wingers. It’s part of our historical DNA and is easily encouraged in our current set-up. I personally wish we would get to the line and cut low balls back to him a little more frequently.

  • Mark K March 22, 2017 - 9:51 am Reply

    Interesting feature. I think the blog makes a good point, but Allardyce seems to think it is a confidence issue. And you can’t argue that Benteke didn’t have a couple of decent opportunities against Watford. We could definitely get crosses to him quicker, yes, but when he does get a chance he needs to stick it away.

    • admin March 22, 2017 - 10:48 am Reply

      Ironically Mark, had one gone in off his backside last Saturday, we’d all be toasting him and the team for a fine win. He still has 11 goals in 30 appearances, more than any Palace player in a single season since promotion back in 2013. It’s interesting to discuss what represents value for money when laying out £30 million for a striker. 20 goals a season would be my benchmark.

      • Jose Fonte baby? Jose Fonte? Oh oh oh March 22, 2017 - 11:13 am Reply

        He certainly has bought more goals but i think him and Wickham are both similar.
        They are form players who need a run in the team and need the faith of their manager to thrive. They both also need a few chances to get a goal.

        Benteke is a better finisher and has slightly more ability but Wickham works harder and gets himself into the game if others don’t

        • admin March 22, 2017 - 11:15 am Reply

          I’m not sure if you’re on Twitter JFB but if you are, you’ll no doubt be aware of my huge man crush on Connor Wickham. I love the lad.

  • Graham March 22, 2017 - 11:17 am Reply

    As the article points out, with Zaha & Townsend playing on the ‘wrong’ wings it means they’re more likely to cut in & shoot rather than get to the byline & cross. Switch them over occasionally & Benteke will see better service in the air (I thought Saturday’s game was crying out for a bit of variation on that front). I know Townsend doesn’t like playing on the left, but if they keep switching every 10-15 minutes then the full backs will really struggle to know which way to send them

    • admin March 22, 2017 - 11:28 am Reply

      I’m fully on board with that, Graham. Yannick and Wilf used to switch all the time, it frightened the hell out of full-backs.

      We need only look at Andros’ goal against WBA to see what he’s capable of on the left after all.

  • Richard C March 22, 2017 - 3:50 pm Reply

    I say a proper no. 10 is required, but Punch is currently playing that role and not well enough in my opinion. You can’t have an attacking midfielder/no.10 scoring zero goals. If Punch got in the box more, space would open up for Benteke, but I do agree about the wingers getting to the line before crossing (provided of course our guys are busting a gut to get on the end of it).

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