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First Team

Hodgson: Benteke Gives Us Physical Presence

28 December 2017

Roy Hodgson has Christian Benteke back available for selection tonight after the Belgian striker missed Saturday’s draw at Swansea through suspension.

In the victory at Leicester he scored the opening goal but also picked up his fifth yellow card of the season but is now ready to come up against the Arsenal side with his manager pleased he has available the presence in attack that Benteke gives his side.

“We were without Benteke at Swansea, he was a big loss for us in the way we are trying to play.

“Wilf Zaha and Andros Townsend did a fantastic job, but when they are playing together we don’t have a physical presence or that focal point in attack which most teams would like.

“I miss Benteke in good form, and we’ll be pleased to welcome him back for these coming games."

Sitting outside the bottom three going into two home games tonight and on New Year’s Eve against Manchester City would have been welcomed by Hodgson and he is now relishing what the return of the 27 year old striker could mean to the second half of the club's season.  

“Benteke is up our sleeve and hopefully raring to go. It gives me hope that we will be a handful for a lot of teams in the future.

“If we can keep going in the second half of the season, another 18 points puts us on 36 and somewhere in with a chance. We have those 18 points in 12 games, not 19 so that gives us hope.”

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