Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frank de Boer may be the wrong man for Crystal Palace

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 4 Sep 2017

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When Frank de Boer took the reins at Crystal Palace this summer it was truly a case of a step into the unknown, for both the Eagles and the Dutchman. I stated at the time of his appointment that it could go either way. Early signs suggest it may go the wrong way for De Boer.

The Premier League table is not a pretty read for anybody associated with the Eagles. Palace have lost all three of their league games so far this season. A narrow defeat at Liverpool was not the end of the world. However, home defeats against Huddersfield and Swansea were rather more worrying.

Players need to adapt to De Boer’s style

Frank de Boer is straight out of the Ajax and Barcelona school of possession football. It would be hard for the Dutchman not to be when he spent much of his playing career at the two giants of European football.

He expects his team to retain possession and dominate play. Unfortunately, for Palace, their players have been rather more used to the more direct football of the likes of Tony Pulis and Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park in recent years.

In truth, Pulis’ team played some decent football. However, he will never be a boss known for his team playing possession-football. Palace’s style of play has been more of a counter-attacking based one. One of the new boss’ main priorities is playing a more expansive brand of football.

De Boer has come into a new country, culture and into a team that will need educating about how to retain the ball and play his preferred style. Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek arrived because he is a player accustomed to retaining possession.

However, he is young and will need time to gain his feet as a first team regular in the English top-flight. His teammates will need time to adapt to De Boer’s ideas.

Will De Boer get time to instil his ideas?

De Boer arriving is a big change from Palace’s previous bosses. The club made a conscious effort to bring in a boss that could change the way the team plays.

However, bosses do not tend to get much time to get things right at the top end of the game these days. De Boer is all too familiar with this situation after exiting Italian giants Inter after less than six months in his last job.

The poor start to their Premier League campaign has led to criticism of the team and the boss. There have even been murmurings of squad unrest amongst the players. In addition, talk of players being unhappy with De Boer’s man-management skills.

The Crystal Palace job was never going to be an easy one for Frank de Boer. The Dutchman had expressed his desire to manage in the English top-flight in the past. Palace has a decent squad and decent foundations to build on.

Maybe De Boer is just the right man in the wrong place, or even at the wrong club in the Dutchman’s case.

Early frontrunner to lose his job

It may well be very early in the season to talk about bosses losing their jobs, but De Boer is now the favourite to be the next Premier League boss to lose his job at odds of 8/13.

De Boer showed some managerial promise managing former club Ajax. Many also regard him as one of the best young coaches in European football. It would be a major shame for him to fail at Palace and lose his job very early in his reign. His managerial career may never recover from failing in Italy and England.

The Premier League is a very unforgiving place, though. Bosses can find themselves out of a job even if their team are winning. Which means a boss who has made a poor start like De Boer is always on a knife-edge.

Crystal Palace are unlikely to fire the Dutchman just yet. However, a defeat at Burnley this weekend could have the Eagles hierarchy asking some serious questions about the Dutchman’s position.

Can Frank de Boer turn things around at Crystal Palace?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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