Christian Benteke didn’t manage to get himself onto the pitch during Crystal Palace’s 4-1 win over Leicester on Saturday but he was the subject of a rather embarrassing moment on the bench, being left hanging for a high-five by teammate Cheikhou Kouyaté.
The central midfielder was brought into the game by Roy Hodgson with 10 minutes remaining, replacing the hugely energetic Andros Townsend but just before the big man’s introduction, he unintentionally ignored Christian’s offer of support resulting in a somewhat heartbreaking look on the Belgian’s face just after he admitted defeat and withdrew his hand.
Roy Hodgson decided to go with Michy Batshuayi up top against the Foxes and was rewarded for his call when the Chelsea loanee gave the Eagles the lead late in the first half. Reacting quickly to a wayward long-range effort from James McArthur, Michy managed to guide the ball goalwards and beyond the reach of an incandescent Kasper Schmeichel.
Benteke’s Belgium teammate almost added a second goal for the day with time running down in the second half, seeing a superbly struck low first-time shot pushed away well by the Dane, only for Jeffrey Schlupp to be brought down for a penalty a couple of seconds later. Captain Luka Milivojevic promptly tucked it away to secure all three points for us but overall, Batshuayi will have been very pleased with his day’s work.
Quite where this leaves Benteke is up for debate. Michy is of course only on loan from Chelsea whilst Christian remains under contract in SE25 but with a game against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent Manchester United coming up this Wednesday, it’s difficult to envisage Roy Hodgson reinstalling Benteke to the starting XI in Batshuayi’s place.
Who knows, Big Ben might come off the bench and grab the all important winner under the lights at Selhurst. That is after all, what having a Premier League level squad is all about; I just hope for his sake, there isn’t a repeat of his Kouyaté blanking next time around.