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Christian Benteke hopes to be Patrick Vieira’s lucky omen as quirky stat emerges


Christian Benteke has five goals in his last seven matches for Crystal Palace and Belgium and also has an unlikely, if ultimately meaningless, stat only bettered by Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney

Christian Benteke might not need lucky omens after rediscovering his goalscoring form under Patrick Vieira.

But Crystal Palace striker Benteke does have a quirky stat on his side as the in-form striker prepares to face Leeds at Elland Road on Tuesday night.

According to Opta, only Alan Shearer with 15, Wayne Rooney with 13, have scored more goals than Benteke’s 12 on a Tuesday during the Premier League era.

Palace boss Vieira laughed when he was presented with the stat at his pre-match press conference: “I may have to start him then!”

Benteke, 30, has already got five goals under his belt for club and country this season having previously gone nearly a year without scoring between April 2018 and April 2019.

Christian Benteke is lethal on a Tuesday
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Image:

Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

But not only has Benteke rediscovered his form in front of goal, but the £27m striker’s all round game has also blossomed under Palace boss Vieira.

Vieira says Palace are playing to Benteke’s strengths while Odsonne Edouard and loan signing Jean-Philippe Mateta are also providing valuable competition.

Vieira said: “I’m really pleased with Christian’s form at the moment, I think he’s working really well, working hard for the team and most importantly he’s scoring goals.

“He’s playing with a lot of confidence and I think the way we play, the amount of possession that we have allowed him to touch the ball a bit more, create more chances and the fact we want to defend higher up the field allowed him to be more involved in the game and I think that suits him.

“I think as well the fact we have Edouard and JP as well bring out the best in him because maybe he needs the competition around him to challenge him and I think that’s an important factor as well.

“When you score goals year after year you have still got it. I didn’t teach him how to score goals. I think I will be happy if he gets into double figures, I think he can do that easily.

“The way we want to approach the game and the way we play maybe having more crosses and more balls inside the box has allowed him to create those chances.

“Being a striker is all about confidence and when you score one and two you start to build yourself again and he is in a really good place.

Christian Benteke bis in great form at the moment
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Image:

Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra)

“It is about the decision making, I think he can be better on his decision making and that will allow the team to play better and make more chances.”

Vieira’s team have been on a good run which was interrupted by the home defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday and the Palace boss was quick to pay tribute to former manager Roy Hodgson for his role in helping him settle in so quickly.

“I think it’s all credit to the previous manager. Roy developed the players and the club into something that allowed me to come straight in and work,” said Vieira who will face Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa for the first time.

“He coached Marseille in France, he coached Lille and did fantastic work with both teams. He’s a manager with a way of working that’s been really good for many.”

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