Yesterday saw Crystal Palace kick off the new season in dismal fashion, falling to a 3-0 defeat at home to Huddersfield Town. It was a result that new boss Frank de Boer expressed some rather direct views on in his press conference after the game.
After some early signs of promise relating to de Boer’s tactical shift during our pre-season fixtures, yesterday saw the Terriers cut us apart within the space of three first-half minutes, establishing a 2-0 lead which Palace never really looked like coming back from.
Having clearly instructed his side to play out patiently from the back, Hennessey’s nerves, Dann’s uncertainty and Joel Ward’s struggles on the right-hand side of the pitch all played their part in a truly torrid spell for the Dutchman during his first competitive fixture as Palace boss.
Whilst Wilfried Zaha and Scott Dann did waste golden chances to drag the team back into the game at 2-0, the general trend of the fixture from a red and blue perspective was one of frustration at a newly implemented system failing to click into place against a highly motivated unit in Huddersfield Town.
It doesn’t take a tactical mastermind to deduce that our biggest issues on the day came in the defensive third of the field and with a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield next up for de Boer and his players, we must all hope that yesterday’s humbling scoreline focuses the players minds on the need to markedly improve.
We all knew that the drastic changes being made by Frank de Boer would take time to bed in but given the unforgiving nature of the Premier League, he won’t be able to afford too many performances like yesterday if he is to keep the Eagles clear of the drop zone between now and May.
If I was watching all of this unfold from a neutral perspective, I’d be immensely intrigued as to how Frank goes about trying to bounce back but as someone with a vested interest, I’ll be approaching next weekend’s trip to Merseyside with nerves knotting up my stomach.