Blundering Benteke could lose Palace penalty role

Ian Watson

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke could pay the penalty for his spot-kick misses this season.

The centre-forward has missed twice in four attempts from 12 yards, the latest a weak effort in the 1-1 Boxing Day draw at Watford.

That failure arguably cost Sam Allardyce a winning start to life as Eagles manager, and they head to Arsenal on New Year’s Day with Allardyce weighing up his penalty options.

“We need to find someone to take penalties. I have no idea who at the moment,” Allardyce said.

“But first I’ve got to decide on the team, then when we’ve done that we’ll talk about the penalty situation. It would be nice if we got one.

“I might just say, ‘Who fancies taking one?’. If they put their hand up then that’s what you want to see.

“I’ve not spoken to Christian about them. Will he put his hand up? Yes, probably. I don’t know him well enough yet but he’ll probably say he wants to put it right.

“When we’ve made the decision and if Christian is the one to take them, then we’ll see what he’s thinking.

“But we’re missing too many penalties and the next one we get we need to make sure we score it.”

Allardyce, sacked as England manager in September, is back in his familiar ‘Red Adair’ fire-fighting role having answered Palace’s call to replace Alan Pardew before Christmas and save them from a relegation battle.

He rescued Sunderland from a far worse position last season, and the 62-year-old does not see his latest challenge as the toughest of his career.

“No, I hope it’s not,” Allardyce said. “I will tell you at the end of the season but I hope not.

“I consider the players to be more than capable of achieving results in the position at the moment, otherwise I don’t think I would have taken the job.

“For me, the club has got some ambition. It is not just about survival this year, it is about the ambition the chairman talked about where the club wants to go.

“It wants to develop and invest in all areas and that is quite attractive to me. It wasn’t just about survival.”