The Premier League is finally back after what has been a summer of change for Crystal Palace. After Sam Allardyce did what he does best by steering Crystal Palace away from relegation last season, he surprisingly stepped down as Eagles boss.
Having taken the Palace job in June, the man to lead Palace into the 25th Premier League season is Frank de Boer. He welcomes Huddersfield Town to South London, who, like him, are making their Premier League debut.
The former Ajax man had this to say about coming to manage in England’s top flight:
“It’s the biggest league in the world, we’ve experienced it in Hong Kong where there were four Premier League teams, and it’s so big. If you can be part of it that’s fantastic.”
On their pre-season tour of Hong Kong, the Eagles faced Liverpool and West Brom which saw them lose and win 2-0 respectively. However, with their only pre-season defeat coming against Liverpool they’ll be looking to carry that form into their opener against Huddersfield.
Looking at the task ahead come Saturday lunch time de Boer said:
“It was a surprise that they got promoted but I think they’re a very good, organised team who showed when they have time to build they can really hurt you.
“I have a lot of respect for them but we’re not afraid of them, we’ve seen a lot of promise in pre-season and I think we are ready, we’re confident of a good result but we respect every opponent if it’s Manchester City or Huddersfield.”
Going into the new season de Boer doesn’t have too many injury worries, but he gave an update on the likes of Yohan Cabaye, James McArthur and Bakary Sako saying:
“Cabaye and McArthur are fit but not to participate or be on the bench, they’re looking very good right now but first they have to get minutes, it’ll be the normal procedure that first they will play in the under 23’s when possible.
“Sako is still injured but the rest are ok.”
There was also a much-anticipated update on Pape Souare who returned to training this week after breaking his thighbone and jaw in a car crash 11 months ago.
de Boer said:
“He’s scheduled to make his first minutes in two weeks in the under 23’s.
“It’s unbelievable, I really gave a compliment to the medical staff and the coaches because when he had the crash everybody was doubting if he’s going to play again.
“I have to admit, what I saw on Wednesday, how he looked and moved around it looks very promising for him so I’m very pleased.”
The 27-year-old’s return could be seen as something of a new signing at Crystal Palace, but there are already some new boys who could feature this weekend in the form of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jairo Riedewald, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
On his new additions, de Boer said:
“They are players that give that extra quality on the pitch, especially when we have the ball and I think if we want to play going forward we need those types of players”
One player that the Palace fans are already familiar with though is Wilfred Zaha and it looks like their new manager is excited to see him in action to:
“Wilf is a player that everybody knows. People come to the stadium just for him, he’s something special and I’m looking forward to see him play.
“Hopefully he will be very important for us.”
So, we’re almost back to seeing Premier League football in South London, and one thing that makes you know football is back is the Crystal Palace fans, and de Boer is already looking forward to meeting them, saying:
“It’s favoured to play at home first because normally team get most of their points at home because your fans are the 12th man behind you and you feel comfortable.”
He’ll definitely be hoping that’s the case as Crystal Palace look to get on the board before they visit Liverpool next week to kick-off the season in the right way and with a record, as Palace search for their second opening day victory since returning to the Premier League in 2013.