Premier League – Hodgson hails Benteke return
Roy Hodgson is delighted to have Christian Benteke back for Thursday’s visit of Arsenal because he adds a ‘physical presence’ to his side.
The Eagles chief has masterminded a major turnaround in fortunes for the club since taking charge from the sacked Frank de Boer in September with the side bottom of the table on zero points and without a goal at the time.
The Londoners now sit in 16th position and are a point clear of the relegation places following an eight-match unbeaten run.
They will look to extend that run when top-four chasing Arsenal arrive at Selhurst Park this week.
I miss Benteke in good form, that’s for sure, and we’ll be pleased to welcome him back for these coming games.
And, after battling to a 1-1 draw at bottom club Swansea on Saturday, Palace will have Benteke back from suspension for the game against the Gunners.
Hodgson hailed his other attacking players for their performances at the Liberty Stadium, but the former England boss will welcome the 27-year-old Belgium international back into the fold with open arms on Thursday.
On Benteke, Hodgson said: “We were without Benteke at Swansea; he was a big loss for us in the way we are trying to play.
“I thought Wilf (Zaha) and Andros (Townsend) did a fantastic job but when they are playing together we don’t have a physical presence or that focal point in attack which most teams would like.
“I miss Benteke in good form, that’s for sure, and we’ll be pleased to welcome him back for these coming games.”
Palace, who are 1/6 not to be relegated this season, are 10/3 to defeat Arsenal with Benteke 6/4 to score at any time, while the Gunners are priced at 5/6 and the draw is available at 3/1.