Crystal Palace

Opinion: Ayew must replace Benteke as Crystal Palace’s No.9

Opinion: Ayew must replace Benteke as Crystal Palace’s No.9

It is two defeats on the bounce in the Premier League for Crystal Palace following their 2-1 loss against Watford yesterday, and manager Roy Hodgson now has some big decisions to make.

The Eagles were hoping to get back to winning ways at Vicarage Road after losing 2-0 to Liverpool last Monday, but simply did not have the firepower to do so in another game where Christian Benteke was extremely disappointing.

The performance from Hodgson’s men as a whole was not the greatest and, other than Wilfried Zaha who scored Crystal Palace’s consolation goal in the 78th minute, the team can often be wasteful in front of goal.

And, while it is not fair for one player to get all of the flak, Benteke is deserving of much of the criticism he receives from Crystal Palace supporters.

It was another bad day in the office for the 27-year-old at vicarage road; he put in another goalless display, and his overall centre-forward play was also not up to scratch.

Furthermore, it is time for Hodgson to finally throw loan signing Jordan Ayew into the starting line up — a player, who at this moment of time, would undoubtedly offer a greater output.

While £7.2m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Ayew does not have the characteristics that Hodgson perhaps prefers his first-choice No.9 to have, bringing the 26-year-old into the starting XI could completely rejuvenate Crystal Palace’s attack.

With the pace he possesses, Ayew can run in behind defenders and onto through balls from the likes of Zaha, Andros Townsend and Max Meyer once the German is fully fit, unlike the static and less mobile Benteke.

Most importantly, though, Ayew is a better finisher than his Belgian team-mate and can help take some of the goal-scoring burden off Zaha.

With the squad they have, Crystal Palace are capable of achieving a finish in the top half of the Premier League table, but Hodgson could jeopardise that if he continues to persist with Benteke up front instead of utilising Ayew.

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