Victorious Opener On The Cards For The Gunners
Arsenal v Crystal Palace
Arsenal look to build on their Community Shield triumph by picking up three points on the opening day of the season.
Following a pre-season that included a 5-1 win against Benfica but also defeats to New York Red Bulls and Monaco, Arsenal claimed the first piece of silverware of the new season with a 3-0 victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield last weekend.
Although up against a depleted Manchester City side the Arsenal performance was impressive as goals from Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud gave Arsene Wenger’s side the win.
The Gunners ended last season with four straight clean sheets and five straight wins in the league, having previously gone four games without a win, which all but ended their title aspirations.
Crystal Palace ended last season with a couple of high scoring draws, including the remarkable comeback to draw 3-3 with Liverpool in the penultimate game of the campaign.
This summer’s friendlies have thrown up some interesting results, including a massive 13-1 victory against Grazer AK of Austria, but also a recent 3-2 defeat to Bournemouth.
Much to the satisfaction of Arsenal supporters, Arsene Wenger has opened his chequebook this summer and splashed the cash on some notable big money acquisitions. Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and Alexis Sanchez have all joined the club for eight figure sums and each can be expected to make their Premier League debuts for the club here.
Thomas Vermaelen’s big money move to Barcelona and Bacary Sagna’s free transfer to Manchester City are the only notable departures from the club. Theo Walcott is not yet ready to make a return from the cruciate knee ligament injury that he picked up in January.
Palace haven’t been quite as busy in the transfer market, but have made a couple of astute signings in Brede Hangeland (free transfer) and Fraizer Campbell (£900,000) from two of last season’s relegated clubs.
Arsenal won 2-0 in both home and away instances of this fixture last season…
…with Olivier Giroud and Mikel Arteta scoring at Selhurst Park and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain getting a brace in the game at the Emirates. Palace haven’t beaten their fellow Londoners since 1994 when John Solako scored both goals in a 2-1 win.
Palace’s improvement under Tony Pulis last season was nothing short of remarkable, but it should be noted that the majority of the points that they picked up came against bottom half teams, while second season syndrome is not something to be readily dismissed.
At odds of 3/10 for the three points Arsenal look a good solid bet for those that don’t mind backing short priced favourites, while a bet on the -1 Handicap also looks a good bet at odds of 5/6 for those looking for a bigger return.
At odds of 9/2 in the first goalscorer market, Olivier Giroud looks a good bet to break the deadlock, but an Arsenal victory without conceding is the standout punt of the game at odds of 20/21.