Palace Duo In Team Of The Week (19/12/17)
Crystal Palace are represented in the latest Premier League team of the week that has been selected by BBC pundit Garth Crooks.
Actually Garth is now down as a 'Football Analyst' these days, a posh term for a pundit then!
The performances by Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke in the three nil victory over Leicester City at the weekend at the King Power Stadium was enough to earn them a place in the side alongside the other, in the opinion of the former Spurs striker anyway, most impressive performers in the topflight over the latest weekend.
I think we'll already know ourselves, and not just based on the latest performance, why Crooks, we'll also not argue with it, selected the duo as part of his team but explaining his choice he told the BBC.
'Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson is not far away from producing a really decent side at Selhurst Park. I have said before in this column that if Palace can get Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke and Andros Townsend all fit and on the field at the same time they can destroy any defence in the country. And we saw the first salvo of what this trio can do against Leicester. Palace's defence responded, too, with a clean sheet. It must be really exciting to know you are in a team where if you can keep a clean sheet, you are almost certainly going to win. That is what Hodgson has at his disposal. Chris Hughton at Brighton, Paul Clement at Swansea and Rafa Benitez at Newcastle have nothing like that firepower. That is why Palace will stay up and the other clubs I have mentioned will spend the rest of the season fighting for their lives.'
'Last week, Christian Benteke paid the price for writing cheques he couldn't cash. To take the ball from Luka Milivojevic, who had just converted a spot-kick, and insist he take it only to miss and cost his team two points must have been excruciating for the player, team and manager. But to return the following week against a rampant Leicester and produce a performance in which you score the opening goal and then lay on the second takes some courage. I said after last week's debacle that Benteke was going to have to work his way back to form, and scoring goals was only part of the rehabilitation. The Belgium international is not back to his best but he's well on his way. It is imperative the Eagles get the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker where he was when he first joined the club. All credit to Hodgson as well. It took a very experienced manager to handle the situation after the game against Bournemouth. Everything Hodgson said publically was measured and he gave himself, and his player, room to recover the situation. It was a superb team performance by Palace against Leicester, but without Hodgson's astuteness and Benteke's courage, Palace might have struggled.'
It's always good to see the club represented in this way, and well played to both for their recognition, but the most important thing about the weekend was of course the points.
Mathew Ryan (Brighton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), James Collins (West Ham United), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).