After a year in an Anfield limbo, Christian Benteke is firing Crystal Palace to safety and claiming some scalps along the way.
- Position: Forward
- Fantasy Price: £m (PlayON), £m (FPL)
- Starts: 6
- Goals: 3
- Assists: 0
Christian Benteke’s brief time at Liverpool is often lazily referred to as a year in the wilderness. It represents a hushed mistake for all parties concerned. An ill conceived marriage that should be quickly forgotten so both the Anfield staff and the player can progress with the rest of their lives.
However, even though the Belgian never fit into Jurgen Klopp’s long-term vision at Liverpool, he really had quite a decent season by most measures.
It’s easy to forget Benteke scored nine Premier League goals across 15 starts. His goal tally was just three short of this season’s current top goalscorer, Diego Costa. Many players used to being the leading man at a lesser club have struggled far worse than he did. Now at Crystal Palace, the 25 year old is back and thriving in the sort of prominent role he was used to at Aston Villa.
Much like at Villa, Benteke’s Palace teammates seem to be under direct orders to whip the ball into the box and on to the head of their centre-forward at every available opportunity.
For example, Andros Townsend – another new arrival to Selhurst Park – has registered the most unsuccessful crosses in the league thus far, with 50. Conversely, teammate Jason Puncheon has been the most accurate crosser of a ball, delivering 24 completed crosses. Despite their opposing results, the aim is very much the same – hit Benteke.
He is a handful. If we can get quality balls in, we know he is going to score – Alan Pardew on Benteke
It’s been a successful approach of late, with the Belgian clocking 61 touches in the penalty area – behind only Costa and Ibrahimovic – and scoring 100% of his three league goals as a result of his aerial prowess. The most impressive of which, sealed a draw away to Everton just two weeks ago.
He may have let down his fantasy investors in Gameweek 8 with a missed penalty against West Ham, but his popularity is steadily increasing. Along with the likes of Charlie Austin, he represents a proven goalscorer at this level, available at a relatively modest outlay in both Fantasy Premier League and PlayON Daily Fantasy Football.
Coming up against a Leicester City defence that is now a shadow of its former self, Gameweek 9 could be the opportune moment for the £27 million man to consolidate his promising recent form.