71 Premier League appearances. Six Premier League goals.
A strike rate of one every 11.8 games in England’s top-flight.
These are Christian Benteke’s statistics before the current campaign, ever since he ended his first season in SE25 with 15 Premier League goals.
Impressively – by his recent standards – the 38-cap Belgium international has bagged five Premier League goals in just this season alone.
So, why is that?
Some may argue we’ve been supplying the 30-year-old with more crosses.
However, that isn’t quite the case. WhoScored shows we rank 19th for crosses per game with just 15 every 90 minutes.
That comes after we were again 19th for that same metric last term, joint with Newcastle on 16 per game.
So, what’s the reason for Benteke’s upturn in form?
In our view, it’s the fact his contract is nearing an end.
The Palace No.20’s terms expire in June, and he seems to be one of few who are actually trying to win a fresh deal to remain at Selhurst Park.
Some of Palace’s out-of-contract figures – such as Patrick van Aanholt and Scott Dann – have failed to impress this season, with their minds potentially elsewhere due to their uncertain futures.
However, while they flounder, the situation appears to be driving Benteke on, much to the delight of the Selhurst Park faithful who are finally seeing a small resurgence from their £27 million man.
If anyone deserves to stay in south London beyond June, it’s the ex-Liverpool striker on the basis of what he’s done so far this season.
In fact, we would’ve signed him up in the dressing room straight after that volley against Brighton!