Crystal Palace v Bournemouth preview: Christian Benteke to start on bench
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 27/08/16 3:20pm
Christian Benteke is set to start on the Crystal Palace bench as they host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
The £27m striker started against Blackpool in the EFL Cup victory on Tuesday but was substituted at half-time, with manager Alan Pardew confirming that he lacked the full match fitness needed to start.
However, there's a chance he will come off the bench during the game at Selhurst Park, with the Eagles yet to win in the Premier League this season.
Bournemouth also picked up their first win of the season in the EFL Cup against Morecambe on Wednesday, and boss Eddie Howe hopes it will spur his side on to get their first Premier League points of the campaign this weekend.
"This game is very important - we want to get our season started before the international break, I'm not going to downplay it.
"Wednesday [at Morecambe] was a big boost. It was a tough game and the players got some good game-time. We want our first league win now."
Wayne Hennessey and Joe Ledley are doubts for Crystal Palace as both have been struggling with injury this week.
Steve Mandanda, who joined from Marseille over the summer, could make his Premier League debut between the posts after making his first appearance for the club against Blackpool.
Despite Wilfried Zaha not being in the right frame of mind after Tottenham's failed transfer bid for the winger, Pardew still expects the player to feature at Selhurst Park.
Bournemouth have a clean bill of health for their trip to London, with Harry Arter back in contention after serving a one-match ban on Wednesday as a result of his red card against West Ham.
Crystal Palace are without a win in their last four league meetings with Bournemouth, losing three and drawing one.
The Cherries have won on each of their last two league visits to Selhurst Park, winning 2-1 last season and 3-2 in the second-tier back in 1989.
Eddie Howe's side have won three of their six away trips to London in the Premier League (W3 D0 L3).
Bournemouth are on the longest current run without a Premier League victory - seven games (W0 D1 L6).
Crystal Palace have won just two of their 21 Premier League games in 2016 (W2 D5 L14).
Bournemouth (22) have twice as many Premier League points from their 21 games in 2016 than Crystal Palace (11).
Christian Benteke scored the winning goal in his only previous Premier League appearance against Bournemouth, as Liverpool prevailed 1-0 at Anfield in August 2015.
The Belgian striker scored on his Premier League home debut for both Aston Villa (September 2012) and Liverpool (August 2015), with the latter coming against the Cherries.
Should Benteke score on his debut for Crystal Palace, he'll be the 14th player to net on their Premier League debut for the club.
Bournemouth currently find themselves bottom of the Premier League after two matchdays - they were not bottom at any point of 2015-16.
This is a big game already. Both sides have lost two and if you lose a third before the international break it is dull around the place. I think the Christian Benteke factor could decide this in Palace's favour.
You would think he would turn it on for his home debut in the league. It's rare a centre forward doesn't do something in his first appearance at home.
They have paid a lot of money for him. He had a good season for Villa then didn't really produce at Liverpool, but there is a lot more to come from him. If they play to his strengths he will be a handful, but if they don't get the ball in the box he won't score too many.
Palace put the disappointment of back-to-back Premier League defeats behind them to win 2-0 against Blackpool in the EFL Cup in midweek and Pardew's side are 5/4 favourites as they bid to carry that momentum into Saturday's clash with Bournemouth.
The Cherries also progressed in the cup and are 9/4 to get off the mark in the league following defeats to Man United and West Ham on the opening two weekends of the new campaign.
Palace's club-record signing Benteke played 45 minutes in midweek and the former Liverpool man is 9/2 market leader to open the scoring against the Cherries, with Callum Wilson and Joshua King considered most likely for the visitors at 6/1.