Crystal Palace maintained their 100% losing start to the 2017/18 Premier League campaign with a narrow 1-0 loss at Burnley. The fourth defeat on the bounce for boss Frank De Boer saw Eagles owner Steve Parish take action and call time on his 77-day spell as manager.
The Eagles have not registered a single goal to their name so far this term, which ramped up the pressure on the former Ajax and Inter supremo and ultimately resulted in his swift exit from the Selhurst Park hot seat.
The dreaded vote of confidence had already been given by Palace owner, Steve Parish, who admitted his personal frustrations at the club’s “terrible start”.
“We’re four games in. It’s a terrible start but we have to stick together,” Parish told upset Eagles fans on Twitter.
“People are frustrated, I’m frustrated, so are the management and players. We know we are better than this.”
In losing their first quartet of league games without scoring, Palace have broken an unwanted 93-year-old record, leaving supporters to question the ability and application of de Boer to rally the troops and get the team firing.
Palace’s latest defeat at Turf Moor was particularly galling given that they enjoyed 65% possession and peppered Burnley’s goal with 23 shots to the Clarets’ four. Even Burnley boss, Sean Dyche admitted Palace deserved something from the game, but the rub of the green has certainly not been with the south-east Londoners so far this term, with Parish hoping an early change of manager will change the direction and momentum of their season.
De Boer is not the only one to blame, of course. Many of the Eagles’ starting eleven continue to disappoint, with Belgian striker Christian Benteke continuing to prove criminally wasteful in front of goal.
Match of the Day 2 pundit, Chris Sutton, believes that the playing squad need to shoulder more of the blame than De Boer, who simply could not legislate for Lee Chung-yong’s gift of a backpass which led to Burnley’s winning goal.
There has been a lot of discussion about whether De Boer’s attempts to change Palace’s style of play was too drastic from the more primitive approach adopted by former boss, Sam Allardyce. The real problem appears to lie in attack with out-of-form front man Benteke playing in a team that’s not been geared to feeding his aerial prowess.
However, against Burnley, Palace delivered some 24 balls into the box from wide areas; much more than the 13 they had averaged in their three other league games this term. The other issue with Benteke is his strike rate. The former Aston Villa and Liverpool man seems to be wanting too many chances to score at present. The real concern is that Benteke doesn’t appear to have too much pressure on his place in the side, with homegrown wide men, Levi Lumeka and Sully Kaikai the only attack-minded players on the Eagles’ seven-man bench at Turf Moor.
Owner, Parish might just be kicking himself not providing De Boer with greater funds to reinforce his forward line come the winter months. To some onlookers, wielding the axe so soon has potentially made Parish look clueless himself after selecting De Boer to deliver a long-term change in the club’s style of play.
Former England boss, Roy Hodgson has replaced the Dutchman on a two-year contract. Hodgson is local to Palace, having been Croydon born and bred and was part of the youth setup at Selhurst Park in 1965.
If you’re wondering whether Hodgson’s arrival at Palace may improve their form enough to select them in your upcoming weekend bets and accumulators, you can benefit with help here from the guys at Footy Accumulators. However, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all on the horizon in the fixture list, it may get worse before it gets better for the Eagles.
The shocking summary to this saga is that a 77-day managerial reign merely serves to reinforce the short-term nature of life as a Premier League manager today. Few would bet right now that Hodgson would serve his entire two-year contract!