Well this summer’s been eventful. I was gutted to lose ‘big Sam’ if I’m honest after what he’d achieved with us. It was more than just survival. He turned us into a powerful side who could compete with the top sides as was proven when we dismantled Arsenal at Selhurst Park.
We were unfairly labeled as a direct side under Allardyce. I’m not having that. We played with flair from Zaha and Townsend, had a powerful centre forward in Benteke and got the ball into him so he could bully both Arsenal and Chelsea. Cabaye is no long ball merchant and neither was Sakho so all this talk of FDB changing to a passing game from a long ball one is nonsense.
As I write this there is an article in the Guardian this morning intimating that FDB could be sacked. Surely not. I would be embarrassed as a football club if that were the case after just three games. Arsene Wenger gets longer and his side gave up yesterday.
Anyway back to FDB’s appointment. I was delighted to be honest. Dutch international, won the Dutch title 4 times as a manager and has the type of reputation that will attract players.
I also accept it’s a risk. I don’t want us getting delusions of grandeur. Let’s accept who we are. We’re Palace not Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham. We’re not a top four side, as much as I might dream. We have to accept that a good season would be to finish top of the West Brom’s and Stoke’s and an outstanding one would be top 8. I do wonder based on that theory whether someone like Sean Dyche would have been a better fit, but they went for FDB and I’m not disappointed.
Three games in, no points, no goals scored and all of a bit of a shambles really. Nevertheless to even consider removing the manager at this stage would be a bloody joke!
I’ve got nothing against us playing 3-4-3 and I’m not one who says we should change already, but we need the players at the back and in midfield to make it work effectively.
Against Huddersfield I was concerned before the game that we were playing a newly promoted side who basically had nothing to lose and would have taken a draw. Two defensive errors by Riedawald cost us and Huddersfield’s brutal approach to dealing with Zaha has left us without him for 4 weeks.
The huge positives were our two loan signings Loftus-Cheek and Fosu-Mensah. Both are absolutely outstanding. Seriously top drawer.
The disappointments were Puncheon, Luka Milivojevic and Benteke. Luka has been a bitter disappointment in all games so far and cost us the game at Liverpool and was taken off at half time against Huddersfield. He was substituted again on Saturday and Cabaye made a massive difference when he came on.
I thought we played well at Anfield. Tomkins came in for Riedewald and gave us a solid look at the back. FDB went for 5 in midfield and two up top and it worked well. Loftus-Cheek and Fosu-Mensah again the two stand out performers. Benteke should have scored a relatively simple chance which would have put us one up and we would not have lost from that position, but Luka’s mistake cost us around the 75th minute and there was no coming back from that.
This Saturday was the biggest shambles. We should beat Swansea, they’re not particularly good but we were really, really poor, especially in the first half.
We have a real issue at the moment because FDB wants to play football from the back but we have a goalkeeper who doesn’t really know whether to pass it out or kick it long. We have a centre back in Scott Dann who doesn’t really want to play football from the back and we’ve got midfield players who don’t really show for the ball.
Add to this that the crowd are getting nervous every time the ball is played to the centre backs, which then panics them into doing something stupid. It’s not a good feeling at Selhurst at the moment.
We have no width either without Zaha and no real flair to open teams up. Townsend was excellent on Saturday and Fosu-Mensah again absolutely outstanding, but you can’t win games in the Prem with two players.
Cabaye and Loftus-Cheek have to form the central midfield two. I’d play Townsend as the right wing back and Jeffrey Schlupp as the left as he’s far better than Patrick Van Aanholt.
Wilf plays on the wing (obviously) and I’d rival Bournemouth for the signing of Demarai Gray to play on the other, with Benteke down the middle.
We have to sign two centre forwards as Benteke has no competition. If Dwight Gayle is seriously for sale at Newcastle I’d buy him back and add one more.
Finally, if we seriously want to play football from the back we have to sign Sakho. No mucking about if Liverpool want 30 million pay the money!!! He’s a revelation. I said it last season but he’s the best Centre Back I’ve ever seen play for Palace. If you play Fosu-Mensah and either Riedawld or Tomkins on the other side we’ve got a good back three.
I’d sign a new keeper and then give FDB until Christmas to sort us out. When you consider it took Allardyce ten games to get his message across and he knows the Prem, you can’t judge Frank after just 3!
Give the bloke time, the fans have to be patient with the system and let’s see how we go. He could be everything I’m hoping he will be. But at the moment “we’re no Ajax”.