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Crystal Palace

£28 million difference, but Crystal Palace would much prefer Glenn Murray

Christian Benteke has flopped at Crystal Palace this season, with just two goals compared to Murray’s 13 with Brighton.

Mathew Nash

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Crystal Palace suffered defeat at the hands of Liverpool in the Premier League yesterday, in what was a tight affair. A late goal from Mohamed Salah proved the difference, as Liverpool claimed a 2-1 victory. If only a former Liverpool player could have had a better day at the office, Palace might have taken all three points.

Christian Benteke’s poor form continued for the Eagles. He missed two golden opportunities to score in a game where the margins were considerably fine. The exasperation in team-mate Wilfried Zaha’s face made it clear what he felt of the Belgian’s wastefulness.

Palace fans are probably wishing they had a much less heralded and much cheaper former striker up front instead of Benteke.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – MARCH 04: Glenn Murray of Brighton and Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Arsenal at Amex Stadium on March 4, 2018 in Brighton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Whilst yesterday was not his best day, Glenn Murray has been outstanding for rivals Brighton and Hove Albion this season. The 34-year-old has scored 13 goals in 34 games for the Seagulls this season. Benteke meanwhile has just two in 26 – an abysmal record for a striker with his price-tag.

Palace paid a fee in the region of £32 million to bring the Belgian to Selhurst Park back in 2016, as reported by Sky Sports. A year previously Palace had sold Murray to Bournemouth in a £4 million deal, according to BBC Sport. A difference of £28 million which, quite frankly, is laughable considering the comparable seasons of the pair.

Looking back with hindsight it is easy to see that Palace should have kept hold of Murray that summer. Now back with Brighton he has been a phenomenon this season whilst Benteke, at times, has been a phantom.

during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on March 31, 2018 in London, England.

If Palace had the chance to trade them right now for the relegation run-in, make no mistake, the £32 million striker would be sent packing his bags down the M23 to Sussex.

Palace need the Belgian to start firing if they are going to survive an extremely tight looking relegation battle in the Premier League. He does not need to look far for inspiration. If Benteke can find anything near the form Murray has exhibited this campaign, then Palace will have no trouble staying up whatsoever.

Crystal Palace

One winner, one loser as Crystal Palace suffer defeat to Liverpool

Max Cohen

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Palace
Photo: Getty Images

On Monday night Crystal Palace produced a spirited display against Liverpool but ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat at Selhurst Park.

The Eagles gave the Reds a run for their money all night, yet James Milner’s penalty and Sadio Mane’s breakaway finish handed Liverpool all three points.

Here is one winner and one loser from the final match of the Premier League week, as the performance spelled good news for Palace’s season but will be a blow for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Winner: Crystal Palace’s top-half ambitions

Just a week earlier, Liverpool had dealt West Ham a harsh footballing lesson by thrashing the east Londoners 4-0 at Anfield. The Reds’ front three was unplayable and the new-look squad appeared to have genuine title ambitions.

(Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

But when the Merseyside club made the trip to SE25, they found a far more difficult opponent in Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson’s side made life uncomfortable all match for Liverpool, playing an aggressive style that denied Liverpool time on the ball and resulted in numerous chances for Palace to take the lead.

In the end, Liverpool only made a breakthrough by way of a penalty, after Andros Townsend had rattled the bar earlier. And although Palace went down to ten men and let in a second goal, the Eagles nonetheless continued to attack and pile on pressure.

Although Crystal Palace took no points from the match, their encouraging performance against one of the league’s top sides is reason to believe they can crack the upper half of the table this campaign.

(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Loser: Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The 20-year-old right back continued right where he had left off against Fulham, turning in a brilliant display in the opening half against Liverpool. His superb pace held Mane in check and his adventurous attacking play was a lethal combination with Townsend on the right wing.

Yet unfortunately for the youngster, his night ended prematurely when he took down Mohamed Salah as the Egyptian was through on goal late in the match. A three-match ban will follow, cruelly denying Wan-Bissaka a run in the team just as he was hitting outstanding form.

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Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha’s new Crystal Palace deal can keep Eagles soaring

The Ivory Coast international has signed a new deal until 2023.

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Photo: Getty Images

A lengthy summer transfer window ended with a sigh of relief for Crystal Palace fans, as Wilfried Zaha remained in south London for the 2018-19 season.

Linked with Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, the Ivory Coast international remained loyal to the Eagles and has since been rewarded with a lucrative new contract that runs until 2023 – with the club confirming the new deal on Wednesday.

Since *that* disappointing time with Manchester United, Zaha has found his home at Selhurst Park and securing the 25-year-old to a long-term deal is vital for the club’s plans for the coming years – as shown by a remarkable stat.

Since the start of the 2017-18 season, Crystal Palace failed to win a single point in the 10 Premier League matches that Zaha has not started – compared to the average of 1.62 points a game that the Eagles have picked up with their maestro in the side.

His importance was shown last season when, after a woeful start to the season for the south London side, Zaha led the way in a miraculous revival under Roy Hodgson – scoring nine goals and contributing a further three assists.

Zaha hit the ground running against Fulham, opening his account for the campaign on the season’s first round of fixtures, and keeping his services at the club are more important than any of the summer business Hodgson completed in recent months.

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Why Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace selection headache is a desirable one

The Eagles continued their fine Premier League form under Roy Hodgson against Fulham.

Max Cohen

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Roy Hodgson
Photo: Getty Images

After Crystal Palace‘s astute summer transfer business, many expected Roy Hodgson’s side to quickly welcome the new signings into the first team fray.

However, in the Eagles’ Premier League opener against Fulham, none of the four summer arrivals started, and only Cheikhou Kouyate played a part in the match.

Although those decisions were in part due to fitness and lack of training, Roy Hodgson nevertheless faces a selection headache ahead of Palace’s match against Liverpool on Monday.

The desire to stick with last season’s winning formula versus the urge to incorporate summer signings is a tricky situation to navigate, yet it is a positive development for Crystal Palace as it creates competition for spaces and improves squad depth.

The starting XI that dispatched Fulham 2-0 at Craven Cottage was absent of any new signings, with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey notably getting the nod ahead of Vicente Guaita.

The decision came as a particular surprise as the Standard reported in the build-up to the match that the Spaniard was set to start. Instead, the Welshman kept a clean sheet and turned in a man-of-the-match display.

(Photo by Glyn Kirk/Getty Images)

In this instance, it appears the competition of adding another top-class goalkeeper further propelled Hennessey to perform at a higher level, just one example of why Roy Hodgson has a positive selection headache on his hands.

In central midfield, James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic thrived, with McArthur particularly bright in restricting the play-making qualities of Jean-Michael Seri.

Hodgson brought in Kouyate and Max Meyer to add further reinforcements in central midfield, yet on the evidence of the Fulham match these two new signings may have to wait in order to break into the starting lineup.

Jordan Ayew may also press for inclusion in the coming weeks as he gets to grips with the club, presenting another attacking option for the Eagles.

All four new signings will be raring to go and eager to impress, leaving Hodgson with many difficult calls to make as the season progresses.

Yet, overall, the dilemma is a desirable one, improving the quality of the Crystal Palace squad and creating strength in depth.

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