Roy Hodgson was and no doubt still is fuming with Christian Benteke for his stoppage-time penalty blunder against Bournemouth at Selhurst Park yesterday afternoon.
— Matt Webb (@doctordubbs) December 9, 2017
Having worked our collective socks off to go into the final moments with the scoreline delicately balanced at 2-2, the Belgian took the “unilateral” decision to snatch the ball away from designated penalty taker Luka Milivojevic and go for glory himself, much to the dismay of the 24,000 Palace fans in attendance.
His coaches, teammates and Luka specifically attempted to reason with the Belgian but according to Hodgson, there was nothing any of them could do to dissuade him for placing the ball down himself and going for goal. Predictably, given the drama that precluded it, he missed in a truly feeble manner and was roundly slated, with the solitary point leaving us bottom of the Premier League table.
Whilst the big man is clearly struggling for confidence, his decision smacks of nothing more than putting personal interests ahead of the team, especially when Luka, as the squad’s penalty taker, had already buried one earlier in the game. A decision that was taken to boost his obviously low confidence has backfired in spectacular fashion, with the dressing room sure to have been a rather heated place in the minutes immediately following the final whistle.
It’s rare for Roy to ever come out and publicly criticise one of his own players, making the above outburst regarding Benteke all the more noteworthy. He was clearly seething about the whole incident, not least because it’s belittled all the work he and the rest of the squad have been putting in to drag us away from the bottom three.
Without any other fit strikers on our books, it’s inevitable that Benteke will still be given a start against Watford on Tuesday. His teammates, manager and the supporters deserve to see him put in a major shift for the shirt from the first minute until the last, it’s the least he can do.