It is somewhat of an understatement to say that it hasn’t been the best of starts for Crystal Palace. No wins in their first five matches – and not even a goal to show for their efforts. To complete the misery at the club they’ve seen their manager sacked already and even Brighton are looking down at their position at the bottom of the table.

De Boer Disaster

The appointment of Frank De Boer in the summer was an interesting one with the Dutchman promising an ‘evolution, not a revolution’ at the club. But just four games in, with his relationship with the owners and the players seemingly beyond repair, he was sacked – a record for the Premier League as the Eagles became hot favourites for relegation.

De Boer may have traded on his Ajax connections but the preparation for the coming season had not been encouraging. Friendlies in Hong Kong were criticised – as was the solitary signing of defensive minded Jairo Riedewald – but what looked like a relatively easy start to the season suggested that De Boer’s Palace could hit the ground running.

An opening day disaster at home against Huddersfield was followed by defeats to Liverpool, Swansea and Burnley and De Boer was shown the door. Although the results were obviously disappointing, the manner of the defeats was even worse with Palace putting on some truly awful displays.

The Return of Roy

With his local connections Roy Hodgson has leapt at the chance to take over his boyhood club, while at the same time aiming to lay to rest the embarrassment of his last game in charge of a football side – England’s departure from the European Championship a year ago at the hands of Iceland.

The owners had apparently attempted to convince Sam Allardyce to return to the club just four months after keeping the Eagles in the Premier League at the end of last season. Another season of struggling against relegation obviously didn’t entice Big Sam and now Hodgson knows he has a tough task on his hands even at this embryonic stage of the season.

A home fixture against Southampton was never likely to be an easy introduction for Hodgson and although his side did look slightly more threatening there was once again a lack of confidence going forward. Hodgson has already signalled that he believes that there is a real sense of anxiety in the team and his first major job will be to convince his players to believe in themselves.

Troubled Times Ahead

Worryingly for Palace, the next set of fixtures really does not do them any favours. They face trips to Manchester City and Manchester United before hosting the champions Chelsea. After that they have to go to St James’ Park to face Newcastle and it is not inconceivable that they could get towards the end of October without picking up a single point.

It is unfortunate that star man Wilfried Zaha has been out injured since the opening day of the season but there is quality in the Palace squad that really needs to start playing soon if they want to avoid falling too far behind so early in the season.

Roy Hodgson should be under no illusions – keeping Palace in the Premier League is going to be a really hard job. The players need to start performing immediately and rediscover the form that kept them up last year – otherwise it could easily start getting very miserable in this particular part of south London.