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Jeroenvk94

Article Crystal Palace meets total football

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Recently, Dutch legend Frank de Boer has signed with Crystal Palace. The manager had some experience in the Dutch Eredivisie, winning silverware for 4 seasons in a row. He then moved on to Inter, which wasn't even close to being succesfull. After a year off, he decided to sign with the London club. Crystal Palace has a lot of decent players and can most certainly do impossible things, with the right tactics. I have been able to observe his tactics for some years in Holland, so in this article I'll briefly describe how Frank de Boer's playing style is going to fit into the Premier League. De Boer has made the likes of Toby Alderweireld, Daley Blind and Christian Eriksen excel at Ajax. Two of them are actually very solid Premier League players as of late.

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The Philosophy

Frank de Boer has worked with some of the best players around the world. Which means he has also trained under the best managers around. One of them is Louis van Gaal. This manager has become widely known for his own philosophy in which he likes to dominate posession and strike out of nowhere. Frank de Boer is actually no different. You can see he is widely influenced by Van Gaal. But in his work, you can also see the influence on the best Dutch football player, manager or personality we have ever known, the late great Johan Cruyff.

De Boer likes to stick with a classic 4-3-3 formation, a formation which the Dutch made famous with Michels and Cruyff. However, De Boer has created his own 'philosophy' around this tactic. He likes to incorporate a very solid defensive shape with defenders who are strong and quick, but also defenders who can give a devastating cross pass if needed. This is why Daley Blind fit in great in his philosophy. He is a decent defender, but really excels in being a playmaker. This is why De Boer usually played him at the '6' position.

Offensive style of play

When the team has the ball, you can be sure of one thing, they're not going to rush forward. De Boer dislikes kick and rush football. His tactics aren't very spectacular to witness, but they are effective nonetheless. He likes to build an attack from the defense, passing the ball around whilst trying to create space for midfielders and wingers to make a smart run. A big part of this is positional interchange, in which for example the right winger falls back to the halfway line, gets the ball and fills in for a midfielder, who is now playing at the right back position, because the wingback is making a run over the right flank. To make it easy for everyone to understand, this is called total football. Total football is a system developed by Michels and Cruyff which made Ajax one of the biggest clubs in the world. It also made Barcelona the club it is today. It's one of the few clubs where you can still see the influence of Cruyff and Michels. Barcelona have developed this style of play, which is commonly known as 'tiki taka'.

Total football is a system which essentially is all about having posession and players being able to fill in any role on the field. When the finally get to the part when the ball goes to a winger, who are often quick technical players in Frank de Boer's system, the go for a 1v1 situation with a defender.

Transition play

In transition, Frank de Boer likes his wingers to create space. He uses them to make long runs on the flanks. This is so that they occupy 2/3 defenders, while his team is passing the ball in midfield, having enough space to reach the penalty area. At one point, the wingers make a run into the penalty area, where they receive the pass and get into a 1v1 situation with the goalkeeper. This has proven to be effective in many situations. During his Ajax days, he managed to defeat Barcelona and Manchester City in the Champions League while perfectly executing this philosophy.

In defensive transition, Frank de Boer likes to press high. He has made a rule where his team has to form a block within 3 seconds after losing the ball, which leads to uncomfortable situations for the opponent. His midfielders make sure the whole opponent midfield is marked, so they can't receive a ball. This makes it that the opponent defender gets stuck with the ball, or has to play a long pass.

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Defensive style of play

When the opponent has the ball, all players mark their men, except for one. This one is usually the '6' who plays in front of the defence. This is the most underrated position in the squad. These players are not often technically gifted, but are work horses with a lot of vision and the ability to cross a ball to the other side of the field. These are the players like Busquets and De Rossi.

This player is gonna press the man in posession, but he is not going to make a blind run at the ball. He is going to block every possible passing lane there is. For this, you need a player who reads and understands the game. If they don't, you're gonna leave lanes open, allowing the opponent to come closer.

The remarkable thing about De Boer's defensive shape, is that the formation changes. In posession, he likes to stick to 4-3-3 with positional interchanging, but if the opponent is in posession, Frank de Boer switches to a 4-5-1 formation, with the wingers making the playing field smaller, and one of the midfielders functioning as the '6'.

I think Frank de Boer is going to bring this tactic to Crystal Palace, and I think he is going to do just fine. We know from the past that English kick and rush football, does not go well with the calm build-up of total football. We're going to see, after this transfer window, which players are capable of filling in the roles De Boer has for them. Recent signing Jaïro Riedewald, knows what it takes to play in that system, he might become a key player in De Boer's first year at Palace.

The signings

Until now, Crystal Palace has only signed two new players, but rumor has it that Frank de Boer is still chasing some goalkeepers, I'll put them into this analysis.

Jaïro Riedewald

This young player really has lots of potential. He is able to play at the '6' position as well as functioning as a centre back or even a left back. He has a great cross pass and is able to read the game very well. At Ajax he never really got the chance to show that. Frank de Boer can get him to perform to his highest potential.

Ruben Loftus Cheek

This kid has loads of potential, being one of Chelsea's biggest academy talents, he has a bright future ahead of him. His physical, short passing style will most certainly be very useful for Crystal Palace. He and Riedewald will have to battle for the '6' position in De Boer's squad.

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We also know Frank de Boer is desperate to sign a keeper. He has two potential signings, being Jasper Cillessen and Jeroen Zoet. Cillessen is currently back-up for Ter Stegen at Barcelona, but it is likely he will be first keeper next season as he's been amazing in the pre-season. Jeroen Zoet is looking to leave PSV. 

How will Palace do in FMM?

To make an analysis of Crystal Palace with Frank de Boer in FMM, I've simulated one season in-game, including new signings Jaïro Riedewald and Ruben Loftus-Cheek. We're playing a 4-3-3 formation, with short passing, balanced mentality and focussing on counter attacks. This will most likely simulate Frank's playing style the best. My wingers play as IF and my striker is a target man. We play wing backs, to DLP and one AP. I have left goalkeepers Cillessen and Zoet out of the equation. Hennessy wil be my main goalie.

According to FMM, Frank de Boer isn't going to make it until Christmas at Palace, being fired in december at 18th place.

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This was my tactical analysis on Frank de Boer. How do you guys think his playing style will fit into the Premier League?

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Very good article mate. Interesting to see he didn't last till Christmas in FMM. If he can get his ideas across to the squad I can't see why they won't have a decent first season under his management.

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5 minutes ago, fuddledfoxFM said:

Very good article mate. Interesting to see he didn't last till Christmas in FMM. If he can get his ideas across to the squad I can't see why they won't have a decent first season under his management.

I think he's going to do well in the Prem. Palace has a decent team and De Boer really is an underrated coach.

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I can see it all going horribly wrong. Good managers have often come from abroad and failed because they couldn't cope with the intensity of English football. Personally I think that with the players they have, Palace might've been better suited to a German manager. This is because they have lots of quick powerful players like Benteke and Zaha, who would be well suited to a pressing game and quick transitions from back to front when necessary. De Boer is going to need a big overhaul if he is to make this team his own, and so far that hasn't happened.

 

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1 minute ago, Fish18ish said:

I can see it all going horribly wrong. Good managers have often come from abroad and failed because they couldn't cope with the intensity of English football. Personally I think that with the players they have, Palace might've been better suited to a German manager. This is because they have lots of quick powerful players like Benteke and Zaha, who would be well suited to a pressing game and quick transitions from back to front when necessary. De Boer is going to need a big overhaul if he is to make this team his own, and so far that hasn't happened.

 

This one is just in : he signed Fosu-Mensah on a loan transfer :P

I can agree with you, but we also now Premier League teams have lots of difficulties against more tactical and technical teams, just look at what happens in the Champions League.

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3 minutes ago, Jeroenvk94 said:

This one is just in : he signed Fosu-Mensah on a loan transfer :P

I can agree with you, but we also now Premier League teams have lots of difficulties against more tactical and technical teams, just look at what happens in the Champions League.

And the more tactical and technical teams also tend to be quite good in the first place :D Applying such a philosophy on a mid table team is a big ask.

We'll see, a ball hasn't even been kicked yet.

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16 minutes ago, Fish18ish said:

And the more tactical and technical teams also tend to be quite good in the first place :D Applying such a philosophy on a mid table team is a big ask.

We'll see, a ball hasn't even been kicked yet.

I'm curious to see how this will work out. I think Crystal Palace will finish 9th.

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Really enjoyed the read. Great piece! 

Of course as a Dutchie I'd love to see him succeed. And I do believe in him, he's a smart guy. His spell at Inter was unfairly cut short, but imo he was partly to blame for the chaos at the club, still he should've been given more time. 

Hope he's learned from that experience and understands a little better how to implement his Dutch philosophy at foreign clubs. Can't wait for the season. 

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2 hours ago, BatiGoal said:

Really enjoyed the read. Great piece! 

Of course as a Dutchie I'd love to see him succeed. And I do believe in him, he's a smart guy. His spell at Inter was unfairly cut short, but imo he was partly to blame for the chaos at the club, still he should've been given more time. 

Hope he's learned from that experience and understands a little better how to implement his Dutch philosophy at foreign clubs. Can't wait for the season. 

Inter had been a disaster for a few years, he should've known better than to dive into that snakepit.

I think he's learned from that experience. Well, at least I hope he has.

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Very enjoyable read mate, I hope he does well, if he can get Zaha and Bentekkers firing aswell as implementing his own style and getting Riedewald and Loftus-Cheek playing week in week out I don't see how they won't reach the top 10 with ease

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11 hours ago, Jeroenvk94 said:

Inter had been a disaster for a few years, he should've known better than to dive into that snakepit.

Definitely true. I was shocked seeing him go there as it looked a mismatch from the start. But I expected him to do a little better than he did.

I do think he's great but one thing I think he's still very much lacking are his 'man management' skills and that's such an important aspect in today's game. Let's indeed hope he's grown from experience.

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I enjoyed the read and it was really interesting but it needed more FMM for me. Like the tactical stuff could have used some FMM talk and the new signing section especially as you could have talked about their stats/why they were signed etc, even using their screenshots from FMM over real life pics would have worked. I come here for content exclusive to FMM and this article was slightly too general for my tastes. I love seeing real life and FMM mix within an article but the balance needs to be right. 

However nitpicking aside this was a solid and interesting read, great work mate :).  

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1 hour ago, Ashez said:

I enjoyed the read and it was really interesting but it needed more FMM for me. Like the tactical stuff could have used some FMM talk and the new signing section especially as you could have talked about their stats/why they were signed etc, even using their screenshots from FMM over real life pics would have worked. I come here for content exclusive to FMM and this article was slightly too general for my tastes. I love seeing real life and FMM mix within an article but the balance needs to be right. 

However nitpicking aside this was a solid and interesting read, great work mate :).  

Thanks for the feedback! I'll take that in consideration for the next one ^^

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Thanks for this article! Enjoyed it very much! And actually after yesterday's game, sacking de boer in december may just seem likely! That 3-0 loss against huddersfield was simply pathetic imo! He rly has alot of work to do if he wants to silence his critics

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33 minutes ago, salohcin said:

Thanks for this article! Enjoyed it very much! And actually after yesterday's game, sacking de boer in december may just seem likely! That 3-0 loss against huddersfield was simply pathetic imo! He rly has alot of work to do if he wants to silence his critics

Eh, The Eagles not that good of a side. A mid-table stalwart, but unlike Stoke or West Ham, they're inclined toward the lower side of the table. Flirting with relegation zone shouldn't cost de Boer his job. 

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