There was no lack of fighting spirit on show from Crystal Palace’s players during yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, a fact demonstrated perfectly by Wilfried Zaha’s reaction to Benteke’s stoppage time penalty miss.
Look at Wilf.
This means club means so much to him.
Hold your head in shame, Benteke. pic.twitter.com/S1whh52TK9
— Sam 🔸 (@SWPalace) December 9, 2017
If you can bring yourself to re-watch Christian’s dreadful spot kick, keep an eye out for Wilf at the top of the penalty area, who makes no effort whatsoever to disguise his disgust at the wasted opportunity to take a massive three points from the Cherries. Whilst no one dares to question the love Zaha has for our football club, this footage demonstrates it without the need for words and makes me appreciate him all the more.
Yet again yesterday, the 25-year-old worked tirelessly for the team, teasing and probing defenders with runs from the first minute until the last. Having been brought down for two separate penalties on the day, the least he could have expected was for designated taker Luka Milivojevic to step up and bury his second spot kick of the day but instead, Christian Benteke grabbed the ball in a bid to boost his ailing confidence in front of goal.
It was quite clear that few, if any of his teammates were happy with the Belgian’s decision and whilst that level of frustration may have weighed heavy on Christian’s shoulders in the moments immediately before the spot-kick was taken, he should never have put himself and the football club in such a position with three priceless points hanging in the balance.
Zaha and Benteke are known to be good friends off the field but I for one would love to have been a fly on the wall of our dressing room in the moments immediately after the final whistle sounded. Wilf’s passion and desire to win was there for all to see on the pitch and I have no doubt that he made his feelings known after too, even though he had calmed down enough a couple of hours later to post a message stating that “anger is useless unless it’s channeled into positivity” on his Instagram account.
Tuesday night’s clash with Watford promises to be interesting for all sorts of reasons, not least because of the dynamic between Benteke and his teammates. Will we see him grab his first goal of the season and go a little way towards redeeming himself? I certainly hope so.