Crystal Palace suffered their second successive league defeat on Sunday afternoon as goals from Watford’s Roberto Pereyra and Jose Holebas were enough to secure a 2-1 victory for the Hornets.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Roy Hodgson’s side will struggle in the Premier League this season and are strong contenders to suffer relegation, even with Wilfried Zaha in the side. The Ivory Coast international provided a moment of pure quality at Vicarage Road which gave the travelling side a glimmer of hope of snatching a 2-2 draw in the dying embers of the game, but Palace – spearheaded by a lacklustre Christian Benteke – failed to draw level.
The manner in which Zaha almost single-handedly carved his way through the Watford defence to half the deficit with just 12 minutes remaining served as a gentle reminder that the standard of his performances will be absolutely pivotal to Palace’s survival ambitions once again this season, but he may need further support in the final-third to ensure their top-flight status is preserved.
Benteke endured a torrid 2017/18 campaign in front of goal and it seems his dismal goal-scoring form is set to continue this season. The Belgium international is yet to get off the mark this season and, speaking on Match of the Day 2, Ruud Gullit stated that “Benteke was awful” against Watford.
It’s a very concerning time for Palace supporters considering Benteke is the club’s first-choice striker even after his abysmal season last time round, as there’s no doubt his presence is detrimental to the quality of their attack.
Palace enjoyed plenty of success towards the end of last season when Hodgson played with the likes of Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha at centre-forward. The mobility, speed and directness of the aforementioned pairing enabled Palace to create plenty of opportunities in promising positions, so Hodgson would be wise to implement a similar strategy when they face Southampton on Saturday.
Now that the comparably mobile and speedy attacker Jordan Ayew is at the club, Hodgson can have no excuse in continuing to trust in Benteke whom Gullit has correctly identified as a notable weak link in the Eagles’ starting eleven.
Crystal Palace fans – thoughts? Let us know below!