It was the same old story at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Crystal Palace produced another horrendous display to go down 0-2 to relegation rivals Swansea City.
Palace turned in one of the worst performances in recent memory as the Swans scored two embarrassingly easy goals to take away the three points. Eagles boss Frank de Boer was left mortified and stunned by how dull and lifeless his side were for much of the 90 minutes. Goals from Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham and Ghanaian forward Jordan Ayew succumbed Palace to a deserved three defeats from three matches.
The performance was so bad from Palace that shocking rumours of crisis talks with de Boer will take place this week after the side were booed off once again. Chairman Steve Parish has a real mess on his hands to sort out, with the transfer window fast approaching and his new boss still not being backed. As tactically naive as de Boer was against Swansea, his Palace side are clearly lacking confidence and fresh impetus in a new system. The Dutchman accused his side of “lacking courage” with the ball and being frightened in defence.
First-half highlights were few and far between as both sides cancelled each other’s 3-4-3 systems out with poor ball retention and quality. Yet, as Palace so often did last season, they allowed the opposition a crucial goal right before half-time. Swansea’s own Dutchman Leroy Fer swung in a deliciously-executed cross for Abraham to cutely guide into the back of the net from 12 yards. Just moments previously, Palace defender James Tomkins was forced off with a muscle injury from planting a shot into row Z. Resulting from the disruption to an already awkward back-line, two minutes later Tomkins’ replacement Martin Kelly allowed Abraham to easily get ahead of him and score.
Boos had already been heard at half-time before Frank de Boer epitomised the poor quality and depth of his Palace side. Ineffective wide player Chung Yong-Lee was introduced for Patrick van Aanholt as the Eagles changed to a 4-3-3 system in the second-half. Looking a lot more solid but without creating anything meaningful, any hope of a comeback was gone three minutes after the break. Martin Kelly once again was at fault as he lost the ball cheaply on halfway to Kyle Naughton, who read his intentions, nipped the ball around him and played a perfectly weighted through ball for Ayew to score. Wayne Hennessey was weak as he came out of goal, only for him to kick the ball against the Swans attacker into an open net. An extremely poor goal on the eye, the Palace defence once again added to their calamitous collection of goals conceded in recent months.
The boos and jeers grew louder at the final whistle as Frank de Boer and his confused Palace side limped off out of battle without any dignity. A huge week lies ahead for the club as to whether the strong rumours are true about de Boer potentially being in line for the sack, and for strengthening a desperately weak squad. Chairman Steve Parish has a lot to answer for and is holding the club back with underinvestment. Frank de Boer may have showed poor managerial quality thus far, but wouldn’t you if you weren’t able to do things your own way with your own players? Three games in and it’s already a crisis. Yet, it happens every year and we kid ourselves believing that we’ll learn and grow from the year before. It’s getting worse and the chairman is entirely to blame for this debacle.