Roy Hodgson is expected to take over at Selhurst Park after Crystal Palace fired coach Frank De Boer after just 77 days on the job.
It’s a second successive short managerial stint for De Boer, who was fired after 85 days at Inter Milan but won four Eredivisie titles at Ajax between 2010-16.
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Here’s how De Boer has responded to his dismissal, via Instagram, “Very disappointed about the decision but never the less I want to thank the players, staff and the fans for their support. Good luck for the future.”
Palace was blown out at home to open the PL season, a 3-0 loss to Huddersfield Town, losing star forward Wilfried Zaha for four weeks in the process.
The Eagles then lost 1-0 at Liverpool, 2-0 to Swansea, and finally 1-0 at Burnley on Sunday. De Boer did lead Palace to a 2-1 EFL Cup win over Ipswich Town.
It’s another short stint for Palace, too, which has seen a manager oversee more than 100 matches since Neil Warnock from 2007-10. Since then, the Eagles have had nine full-time managers.
Should Hodgson be hired in time for this weekend, he’ll face early and stiff tests in his tenure.
Palace’s next five fixtures
Saturday vs. Southampton
Sept. 19 vs. Huddersfield Town (EFL Cup)
Sept. 23 at Manchester City
Sept. 30 at Manchester United
Oct. 14 vs. Chelsea
So, yeah, this is going to be quite a task for the new manager’s Eagles, who will be refined in the fire.
That said, much like Sam Allardyce was able to lead Palace to safety with a January transfer window in which he signed season-changing players Luka Milivojević and Mamadou Sakho, this is not a lost cause.
Given Palace had a meager schedule to start the season, but there’s a lot of promise beyond the zeroes on its side of the scoreboard and lack of points on the table.
— Palace’s 14.3 shots per game rank ninth in the PL, while it’s allowed the fifth-fewest shots per game (10.8).
— The Eagles are eighth in key passes, yet have not recorded an assist.
— It’s possession percentage is eighth at 50.1 percent, and Palace is second in dribbles per game at 15.3.
— Palace is tops in the PL with 19.8 interceptions per game, and sixth in the PL with 18.8 aerials won per game.
Most of this has come without Zaha, and the new Palace boss can trot out a lineup with Christian Benteke, Yohan Cabaye, Milivojevic, Sakho, Andros Townsend, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
So, we suspect, Palace is going to be just fine. And De Boer is probably right to feel a bit hard done-by.
Now maybe he was despised in the room — players do have the power these days — but this is a questionable firing by Palace, one that looks certain to “overcome” by time. Looking at the fixtures. Palace will sit Bottom Three come mid-October unless it has another run of beating top teams, as it did last winter.