Yesterday, Crystal Palace announced that striker Christian Benteke has undergone minor arthroscopic surgery to wash out the knee injury which has been troubling him for months, in the hope of getting rid of the problem in the long-term.
The Belgian’s knee troubles have been a badly kept secret at Selhurst Park over the last year or so and after battling through the minor aches and pains for much of last season and the start of this one, it seems the pain became too much to contain whilst the big man was away with his country during the last international break.
Christian had looked to be back to his old self in pre-season and on the opening day of the campaign away to Fulham but clearly, his knee began affecting him again soon after, leading to a drop in performance which saw him come in for a lot of stick from the Palace faithful. In fairness to the supporters, there was no official communication to suggest the frontman was playing through an injury, making their feelings of frustration understandable but after an attempted period of rest and rehabilitation, the decision has been made to sacrifice an extra few weeks and rid the striker of the problem for good.
It can’t have been easy for Benteke to have been playing at well under 100% week after week in the knowledge that there was no one else really capable of stepping into his shoes throughout the squad. At the time of his injury, plenty were pleased about the tactical shake-up it would force Hodgson into but in the time that has followed, the loss of Benteke’s presence has been felt by Palace supporters everywhere.
In truth, we should have a squad available to us which is able to cope with the loss of one player to injury but with Connor Wickham still out of action, Alexander Sørloth struggling to adapt to the speed of the Premier League and Jordan Ayew drowning in the role of a lone frontman, supporters are desperate for a fully fit Benteke to return to the side and give our formation a functional feel once again.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that has seldom felt more pertinent than it does here. The official statement suggests there will be a further update in a few weeks’ time meaning we shouldn’t expect Benteke back until mid-November at the earliest but as and when he does return, you can be sure that supporters will be over the moon to have him leading the line again.
It’s a funny old game.