Christian Benteke

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Watch Live: Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal

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They can’t jump into the top four barring a record-setting day, but Arsenal can draw level with Tottenham if they secure victory as they take on 16th place Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park at 3:00 p.m. ET live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Under new manager Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace is unbeaten since November 5th in Premier League play, and they themselves can move all the way up to 13th or even 12th with victory at home over the Gunners.

[ WATCH LIVE: Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal live online at NBCSports.com ]

Arsene Wenger has returned Sead Kolasinac to the starting lineup, with the Gunners returning to a back-three in Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, and Calum Chambers. Nacho Monreal misses out with an ankle injury, while Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey both find themselves on the outside with hamstring problems.

For Crystal Palace, Christian Benteke returns to the side after his one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation. He slots right to the head of the attack, while Joel Ward misses out thanks to a groin injury. Wilfried Zaha continues to maintain his steady place for the Eagles, as he looks for his 11th straight 90-minute showing.

LINEUPS

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Tomkins, Dann, Schlupp, Milivojevic, Cabaye, Loftus-Cheek, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke.
Subs: Hennessey, van Anholt, McArthur, Fosu-Mensah, Sako, Puncheon, Riedewald.

Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Chambers, Bellerin, Wilshere, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette.
Subs: Ospina, Walcott, Holding, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin.

Hodgson furious with Benteke’s commandeered, missed PK (video)

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Crystal Palace’s impressive run from zero points to an actual relegation scrap would be within goal differential of safety were it not for Christian Benteke.

The ice-cold Belgian striker took a stoppage time penalty out of the hands of Luka Milivojevic, who had converted one earlier in the match, and promptly saw his attempt saved by Asmir Begovic.

[ RECAP: Palace 2-2 Bournemouth ]

That left the match at a 2-2 standstill, and Palace manager Roy Hodgson was less than impressed with the way it was handled by his players.

“It was a unilateral decision and no one on our team was able to wrestle the ball away from him,” Hodgson said. “We the management decide who the penalty takers are. We don’t really expect players during the course of the game to change those decisions

“Had it been a training session we could’ve done something about it. … We tried to shout out instructions, they obviously didn’t get as far as the penalty spot.”

Benteke has yet to score in 10 matches this season, something that will not aid the reaction to his decision. But striker starved Palace may not have an alternative, at least for a few more weeks.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Bournemouth: Defoe scores beauty brace

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  • Defoe opens, closes first half scoring
  • Milivojevic, Dann score
  • Key saves from Begovic, Speroni

Christian Benteke missed a stoppage time penalty kick and Bournemouth held on for a point at Selhurst Park in a 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Jermain Defoe‘s brace included a gorgeous finish, making amends for Luka Milivojevic and Scott Dann goals.

Palace remains 20th with 11 points, while Bournemouth is 14th with 16.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A clever short corner caught Palace looking poor, with Defoe sprung all alone — by an illegal pick — near the penalty spot to bury a side-footed offering.

Palace was immediately ready to level, but a timely intervention stopped Mamadou Sakho at the goal line following fine work from Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

The Eagles leveled when Wilfried Zaha was chopped down in the box, and Milivojevic had no problem with his penalty attempt.

Dann used a Yohan Cabaye cross to make it 2-1, but only briefly as Defoe scored this wonder goal (top).

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jordon Ibe snapped the game back into life in the 70th minute when he forced Julian Speroni into a diving parry.

And it was a hard foul that brought a different kind of vigor to the match, with Lewis Cook‘s sliding challenge on Zaha leading both players into yellow cards.

Asmir Begovic made a great reaction stop when Loftus-Cheek’s deflected effort teased the near post. An ensuing corner was toe-poked wide of the goal by Milivojevic.

Charlie Daniels then cut down Zaha, but Benteke remained ice cold with a poor penalty attempt which was saved by Begovic.

Goal-starved Palace to miss Benteke for at least six weeks

Daniel Hambury/PA via AP
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Crystal Palace’s already woeful season took a big hit this week, as manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that star forward Christian Benteke won’t be able to train for at least six weeks.

The Belgium striker suffered “ligament damage” in last week’s blowout loss to Manchester City, according to Hodgson.

Palace faces Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

[ MORE: Dele gets England suspension ]

With Palace in the midst of a historic goalless start to the Premier League season, the 26-year-old Benteke has played 522 of those 540 minutes.

Benteke scored 15 goals and added two assists for Palace last season, a year after scoring nine Premier League goals and a Europa League marker for Liverpool.

Connor Wickham‘s injury leaves Freddie Ladapo as the only true center forward on the Palace roster, though Bakary Sako is certainly more than capable atop the attack.

Belgium has already qualified for the 2018 World Cup, so Benteke’s absence won’t be as keenly felt by the Red Devils in next week’s international break.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace

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  • Liverpool will still be without Philippe Coutinho due to a back injury.
  • Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne also miss out, but Daniel Sturridge is fit.
  • Crystal Palace has won three-straight games against Liverpool in the Premier League.
  • Both teams have scored in each of the last 10 meetings in all competitions between Liverpool and Crystal Palace, averaging 3.9 goals per match.

For the second-consecutive week, Liverpool will have to play without Philippe Coutinho, who is still missing with a back injury.

However, that didn’t seem to be an issue last week against Watford as Liverpool scored three goals, but it was the leaky defense that allowed Watford to score three goals themselves. (Watch live at 10:00 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Crystal Palace meanwhile also allowed three goals last week but couldn’t score any of its own as it was humbled, 3-0 to Huddersfield. Crystal Palace’s squad is still struggling to adjust to manager Frank De Boer‘s free-flowing style of play and Wilfried Zaha will miss Saturday’s encounter.

But working in Crystal Palace’s favor is Christian Benteke and the club’s three straight wins over Liverpool. It will surely be an open and exciting match at Anfield.

What they’re saying

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Crystal Palace: “We played Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. I’m not 100 per cent sure about the line-ups in that game, but Phil and Zaha were on the pitch and they will not be [this weekend]. I’m not sure if Adam played in this game, but that’s how it is…The only thing we know is it’s a tough game, probably both teams were not overly happy – we were not really disappointed about our first game, but it was how a first game can be, there are things to improve and it’s always like this, but even then we could’ve won which I think everybody knows.”

Crystal Palace manager Frank De Boer on his system of play: “I am not a manager who suddenly after a defeat decides to change things around and as I say I did see some very positive points so I am not going to change the system. We don’t need to use adapting to a change in style of our play as an excuse, it’s not so difficult and quite easy to play. The Premier League is so competitive that you have to work hard as a team to get a result because if you don’t you get punished. The players don’t want to use the new system as an excuse and I think everybody understands what we want but we have to execute it better.”

Prediction

Liverpool’s centerback pair of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren looked better midweek in the UEFA Champions League against Hoffenheim, but it’s another challenge to face Benteke and a motivated Crystal Palace team. Still, the speed of thought and pace on the field of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane should prove to be the difference. Liverpool 3-2 Crystal Palace