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Crystal Palace: De Boer’s Dutch revamp has fans expecting the unexpected

Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer gives a thumbs up to the fans ahead of a Pre Season Friendly between Crystal Palace and FC Schalke 04 at Selhurst Park on August 5, 2017 in London,...

Star man:Although the transfer window remains open, Wilfried Zaha looks certain to stay and is a firm fan favourite at Selhurst Park.

On the pitch

He impressed his manager with his trademark directness, speed and trickery during the pre-season Asia Trophy in Hong Kong.

Biggest summer buy: The purchase of Jaïro Riedewald from Ajax for £7.9m constitutes Palace’s biggest bit of business so far this summer. The 20-year-old Holland international made his Ajax debut under Frank de Boer at the age of only 17 and will play on the left side of a back three this season.

Breakthrough season: Sullay Kaikai, a 21-year-old Londoner and product of the Palace academy, scored on his first-team debut and has spent time on loan at Brentford, Shrewsbury Town, Cambridge United and Crawley Town. A technically astute winger, he made three appearances for Palace’s first team after returning from Griffin Park in January.

Bad boy: Local lads Jason Puncheon and Zaha have had their moments, but now help the Palace for Life Foundation, which was launched with a view to helping young south Londoners by getting them involved in sport. The pair also mingled with fans in a local pub after Palace secured safety last season.

Boo boy: Jordon Mutch has contributed little to the Palace cause since signing for £4.75m in January 2015 and spent the second half of last season on loan at Reading. A central midfielder who rarely scores and isn’t much of an enforcer, no one seems sure what he brings to the party.

Destination Russia: The midfielder Luka Milivojevic was brought in last January to help Palace stay up and is part of the Serbia national side jockeying for top spot with the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup qualifying group.

Glass half-full: Palace underachieved woefully last season, winning only five league matches before February. With the talent at their disposal, Europa League qualification isn’t too outlandish a proposition.

Glass half-empty: Palace underachieved woefully last season, winning only five league matches before February. With a repeat performance, relegation isn’t too outlandish a proposition.

Off the pitch

The manager: Despite his failure at Internazionale, who sacked him after only 85 days, De Boer still has credit in the bank from his successes at Ajax, whom he steered to four successive Eredivisie titles. His is a very progressive appointment and Palace fans are brimming with cautious optimism.

The owners: The public face of the consortium that saved Palace from administration in 2010, Steve Parish made his fortune in the world of business process outsourcing. Popular and media savvy, he can also be ruthless … as Tony Pulis found out in last year’s high court clash over the former Palace manager’s 2014 “survival” bonus.

Chris Waters’ fan’s view: Expect the unexpected. Last time we tried something as drastic as 3-4-3, under Alan Pardew, we came very unstuck. We have more trust in De Boer, though – and Zaha is at the top of his game. Prediction: 12th. Follow Chris @Clapham_Grand

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Barry Glendenning, for The Guardian on Friday 11th August 2017 12.00 Europe/London

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