Updated: January 2019

Why Frank De Boer’s Crystal Palace sack was inevitable

3 January 2019

The retrenchment axe readily hangs above the premier league as owners of the clubs seem to find a dictatorial relish in axing faulting managers. While the premier league is famous for its intensity of play, it is also famous for the impatience of the club board members. Sacking is a habitual virus that has infested the owners of most premier league teams except Arsenal’s. The latest coach to be given the marching orders happened to be the ambitious and revolutionary De Boer. While De Boer didn’t surprise many, another many would have thought he would be given a longer rope to draw Crystal Palace from the pit they were sliding into at the beginning of the league. Let us look at some reasons why the sack for De Boer was almost inescapable.

1. De Boer stubbornly stuck to a struggling 4-3-3 formation

While leadership is essentially about defiance and strong will in face of adversity, leadership in the premier league is diluted with flexibility and adaptability. De Boer was deeply married to a 4-3-3 and the marriage wasn’t working for the team. The team looked out of sorts when playing to De Boer’s 4-3-3 map. The 3-0 loss to Huddersfield was supposed to be a wakeup call for De Boer to step down the gas a bit and jiggle the formation acclimatizing his tactics to the technical quality of the legs he had in his team. Yet he insisted in the pursuance of the seemingly accursed formation. The Swansea game was the last straw that only broke the camel back, it even killed the camel literally. Crystal Palace were critically outplayed and looked like some kind of kindergarten kids playing to impress their parents to buy them some jolly candy. By the time the Burnley defeat came in, the wounds were already festering and the mantle had to be wriggled from the hands of De Boer to save a boat falling down a waterfall.

2. The team looked like they have lost belief in the manager

The defeats would have been easier to gulp down a tolerant throat if it was necessarily because De Boer’s tactics were too difficult soccer Mathematics for his players. A coach like Guardiola can be said to be quite too intelligent for his team. But the dilapidation transcended the fact that his players were insulated against his ideas. The team showed an awful level of motivation, deficiency of purpose and starved of urgency. It was clear De Boer didn’t have the inspirational flames to fire up his team. Once the leader can’t rally his team, he has failed first before the results start failing.

Against Swansea, Crystal Palace disgracefully abandoned the ball to Swansea. It wasn’t like they were packing a bus, as they were still being carved apart by the probing Swansea attack with a number of clear cut chances for Swansea to finish them off.  Against Burnley, the passes were very lazy, few got completed while many more were overhit. The team movement was poor. A team of amputees with clutches could run faster than the Crystal Palace players. By then, De Boer already had his luggage in the garage ready to move on.

3. The premier league is more about pragmatism than entertainment

The premier league is far from a circus. Managers seem o forget that the fans paid their hard earned money to get the tickets to watch the match. The entertainment of the fans is recklessly thrown the tunnel with complete priority focused on getting the three points. Pragmatism is a popular virtue among premier league managers. Very few like Guardiola and Wenger still manage to sneak good soccer in. De Boer should have plucked a leaf from this public book and adopt pragmatism first and steady the boat first before chiseling it to his tactical taste. While his famous days at Ajax explained his love for pure soccer, the team he inherited from Allardyce wasn’t that fanciful. They were more business-minded professionals who just wanted to get the job done with no flair if needed. In no time it was Roy Hodgson in his place, marking the shortest tenure of a manager in Premier league.

Crystal Palace are 13/10 with Unibet to get relegated this season.