No Benteke, No Goals – Here’s A Potential Solution To Palace’s Attacking Problems

1 Posted by - October 3, 2018 - Daily Thoughts, News

Monday evening’s trip to Bournemouth saw Patrick van Aanholt score an absolute screamer to level the scores in the opening stages of the second half but for the most part, the Eagles struggled to provide much of an attacking threat, so what exactly is the cause of our toothless approach in the final third?

After seeing Christian Benteke embark on a dreadful run of goalscoring form, news of a knee injury picked up during the international break prompted some supporters to wonder if his absence from the starting XI would actually do Roy Hodgson a favour but in the games without the Belgian, we’ve looked a tad unsure of exactly how to operate. His game is one which does paint an aesthetically unpleasing picture but crucially, the likes of Zaha and Townsend seem more comfortable in their primary roles. 

Without Christian, the gaffer has used a front three, with on loan Swansea man Jordan Ayew acting as the central point and for all the Ghanaian’s efforts, it simply feels as though placing him there is like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. You could be forgiven for wondering why last January’s multi-million pound signing Alexander Sørloth is not being given a run of starts but as his cameo at Dean Court proved on Monday, Hodgson remains rightly unconvinced about his ability to flourish in the top flight.

There are plenty of questions to ask, namely why our scouting and recruitment process has led to a player, in Sørloth’s case, being purchased when he is quite clearly below the level necessary to compete from week to week but in the immediate future, Roy must find a way of allowing his players to cause defences problems, with or without the services of the sidelined Christian Benteke. 

For me, the obvious call would be to utilise Andros Townsend and Wilfred Zaha as a centralised, floating attacking pairing, just as we did when triumphing over Chelsea to end a seven-game run without a point or a goal at the start of the last campaign. Admittedly, our lack of depth in wide areas leaves one or two headaches to overcome from a positional perspective but hypothetically, it’s a short-term solution to a long-term problem. 

Defences have regularly been bamboozled by the runs of Wilfried Zaha who, when allowed to dovetail and overlap Townsend in a flowing formation, can cause all manner of problems. The 25-year-old’s finishing is getting better all the time and quite frankly, aside from his wonderful individual strike and Huddersfield and Patrick’s aforementioned thunderbolt against the Cherries earlier this week, it’s not as though we’re creating anything better in the current three-man set-up. 

Sadly, this is a scenario in which Ruben Loftus-Cheek would have been perfect as wide cover but in the short-term, Jordan Ayew can balance the play on the flanks to some extent. I’m not suggesting it’s the perfect solution to our current issues but after seeing a string of underwhelming attacking performances, I’m all for shaking it up against Wolves this weekend.  

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  • Help October 3, 2018 - 6:24 am Reply

    I agree wilf and Zaha up top
    Unless the oppo are playing very attcking right left backs then 433 but Zaha central Ayew wide in short Zaha and Townsend gave zero cover against Bournemouth not good enough
    It’s annoying really
    Sørloth 8 m rubbish
    Benteke 30m rubbish
    Townsend 13m average
    Shlupp 13m awful
    64m wasted
    Murray 5m
    Bolasie 30m
    Gayle 10m
    Leaves 19m in the bank and a lower wage bill so probably could have kept cabaye
    Wake up parish

  • tzcar October 3, 2018 - 7:09 am Reply

    i agree with all that,s said above.this is not a good team,and without wilf performing,we are quite frankly toothless.ive said for ages the scouting and buying of players has been crap.this is,nt all down to parish.and they did get 2 things right.guita and meyer.but come january,if we don,t buy the right quality were in a right mess.i agree shlupp benteke sorloth have got to go,by any means good or foul.

  • Mike Ward October 3, 2018 - 8:08 am Reply

    Benteke scored 17 goals in his first season with us and admittedly has had a terrible run since but I agree with the point in this article that he adds a threat when playing up front. Even if he hasn’t been scoring goals. Of course we would prefer him to banging in another 17+ goals a season.
    Sørloth was always a young player who we hoped could develop and grow. He still could. Clearly not ready for the premier league.
    Townsend is way better than average even if he did have an average game vs Bournemouth.
    Schlupp is not awful.
    I absolutely disagree that Palace are not a better team and squad than we were 12 months ago or before.
    You have conveniently forgotten:
    Guaita who has clearly had an impact – Hennessy has been playing better than ever.

    All of these players have improved the Palace squad and there’s your 19m spent.

  • Gordon October 3, 2018 - 8:15 am Reply

    Hold on – it’s not all gloom & doom.
    For the last hour we played well at Bournemouth. We deserved at least a point and would have got it but for a moment of insanity by Sakho. Facing a talented, well organised & fiercely competitive side we gradually asserted ourselves, retaining possession despite a high press and building dangerous moves through slick interplay. We did this through a good all round team performance, which was just as well as Wilf was not at his sparkling best.
    Unlike last season, I wouldn’t dismiss any of our players competing for first team selection as rubbish. We’ve actually got some strength in depth at long last. Townsend is by no means average. He’s exciting, skilful & puts in one hell of a shift game after game. Meyer is beginning to show his quality and imo is a significant upgrade on the ageing Cabaye. Our back 4 picks itself & I wouldn’t swap it with most other defensive units in the PL. The quality of Ayew’s hold-up play shouldn’t be underestimated (it’s something we’ve been lacking with Benteke) and I feel we’ve got to give the Zaha, Ayew, Townsend combination time to gel. It may sacrifice aerial power, but it gives us speed & fluidity which PL defences might well find more difficult to cope with.

  • Sharpy October 3, 2018 - 10:48 am Reply

    Finally some sense well said Mike & Gordon.

  • Ben October 3, 2018 - 11:17 am Reply

    Don’t know how any palace supporter could describe Townsend as average. Don’t know what games he’s been watching. Agree on the comments regarding Sørloth. Not ready for PL at this stage. I think Roy outs him in for his height and build but clearly doesn’t work. Again January is going to be tough to find a striker that fits the bill and I wonder if finances are going to allow us to buy what we need. The Americans are going to need to open their wallets.

  • Wiseoldowl October 3, 2018 - 11:49 am Reply

    Benteke is only likely to thrive in a side that delivers frequent crosses, and under RH that’s not our style anymore. Unfortunately his link up play hasn’t been great to compensate for the lack of goal threat, and that’s been true of anyone in the role during his absences, so a difficult issue to resolve. With that in mind, a switch to our ‘wingers’ playing centrally would be interesting to see again.

  • tzcar October 3, 2018 - 1:39 pm Reply

    i think mike/gordon are dreaming.what do u mean influx of players since january has improved us.miloiovich is clearly not showing as well as last season.this team play in fits and starts.clearly u 2 are easily satisfied.this teamAS THEY CARRY ON WITH THESE INCONSISTENT PERFORMANCES,WILL SEE US SPEND THE REST OF THE SEASON IN THE BOTTOM 6.NOT THERE YET BUT SLIDING THAT way.realism is required,benteke is a busted flush.i,ll bet anyone benteke won,t get 10 goals this sason,he,s gone,i only wish it was out the front door.the backroom staff,have got it all wrong with our strike force,we are weak and it lose to watford,southampton,bournemouth.shows we have stagnated,and this is not fair on people like tompkins, meyer,zaha,wan-bassa,and van-arnott.if u check readings.our player,s are averaging a 6 per game.this is clearly not good enough.on present form mike/gordon your be shouting from the roof tops,for big reinforcements,and benteke will be no-where to be seen.

  • Gordon October 3, 2018 - 7:07 pm Reply

    You’re entitked to your view, tzcar, and I appreciate the exchange of views even if I disagree with you. It would be boring if there weren’t differences of opinion. I’ve expressed my opinion taking particular care not to criticise anyone in any way, but I don’t think Mike & I are dreaming. I can’t speak for Mike but I appreciate progress when I see it. I agree that results haven’t gone our way so far this season. But we’re in much better shape than last year or the year before. I say appreciate our squad improvement & the football we’re playing and don’t panic because the results could have been better. If we keep playing well the results will follow.

  • ee signing October 3, 2018 - 8:26 pm Reply

    Gordon dont feed the troll.

  • tzcar October 4, 2018 - 7:25 am Reply

    i appreciate your response gordon,no offence just fed up with every season we have a false dawn.and what particually bothering me how blunt we are in attack,and total relience on wilf.

    • Gordon October 7, 2018 - 5:46 pm Reply

      Don’t know if you’ll see this tzcar as its some time after the original post. I often look back to see how folk have reponded to my posts and I hope you might do the same. Yes, you’re right – our attack is blunt and I can understand your frustration. I’m frustrated too.
      But I was fearing that Wolves would rip us to bits because, although they’re a promoted side, they are class act with a capital C. You won’t like to hear this, but I still saw some positives in the match.
      But I’m not going to argue my point this time because this is your turn to tell me that your argument had more substance than mine – and I can’t deny it.
      Keep communicating.

  • ee signing October 4, 2018 - 10:41 pm Reply

    I had one small thought on cover in the wings are. AWB converted from the wing. If we have better cover at full back,Ward, Kelly If the worst happened might we move AWB forward. Just a thought

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