Crystal Palace have recorded their first win of the season at the Riverside Stadium and Alan Pardew will be hoping that this is the end of their disastrous run of form. 2016 has been a poor year for the club, but they have done some shrewd business over the summer and based on this performance, they should be challenging for a top ten finish. This was a reminder to Middlesbrough of the competitiveness of the league and survival will be a good result for them in May. Here are three things we learned from the match on Saturday:
Christian Benteke is the final piece in the Palace jigsaw
After a disappointing year as a Liverpool player, Christian Benteke arrived at Selhurst Park with a damaged reputation. He was one of the best strikers in the league when he played for Aston Villa and his performance on Saturday suggested that he could reach those levels again at his new club. The Belgian scored the opening goal with a trademark header, as he outmuscled Daniel Ayala to put the ball past Victor Valdes.
The Eagles’ style of play perfectly suits Benteke and he will thrive off the service provided by the club’s assortment of talented wingers. Palace have been struggling to score goals and needed to bring in a better player to lead the line. Their summer signing from Liverpol has fitted in seamlessly and has given them a real presence in the final third. Aside from his goal, the striker’s link-up play was impressive and Palace should now be confident of pushing up the league table.