It’s been an extremely long few weeks for supporters of Crystal Palace FC but tomorrow, we are set to welcome Belgian international striker Christian Benteke back into the starting XI following his recovery from a knee ligament injury.
With the team having struggled massively for goals since August, the striker’s return should put a spring in everyone’s step ahead of what looks to be a truly winnable game at home to an Everton side who have been out of sorts from the very start of the campaign.
Whilst the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako have filled in for Benteke as best they could, the lack of goal-scoring alternatives has been a truly sore point for much of the Palace faithful from the moment the transfer window closed in August. Having allowed Frazier Campbell to leave at the end of last season and with Connor Wickham still down as a long-term absentee after sustaining a cruciate injury away to Swansea last term, we were left looking incredibly threadbare in the final third without the presence of Christian.
Although the big man is yet to get off the mark for 2017/18, his record against Everton should give us all reason to be cheerful, having bagged a towering header at Goodison Park last term in a 1-1 draw between the two sides. Admittedly, the Toffees have changed goalkeepers since that night but Benteke also has form against the new number one Jordan Pickford, having bagged a last-gasp winner over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last September.
"That was against Stekelenburg, wait until he comes up against Pickford!" I hear you cry.
He's got his number as well…pic.twitter.com/Ey1IArvPOA
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) November 16, 2017
Of course, it’s a little foolish to look back on previous achievements and use them as a yardstick for a player’s chances of success more than a year later but after toiling without him since our humbling 5-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City a few weeks ago, the mere thought of having him back at full fitness is enough to make me hopeful of an upturn in our fortunes between now and Christmas.
Same again please, Christian…