Palace in peril as Pulis goes ahead of Gunners game
Arsenal did the double over London rivals Crystal Palace last season, winning 2-0 on both occasions. That scoreline is par for the course again in this televised teatime offering at 9/2 with Coral, not least because Tony Pulis has left the Eagles on the eve of the big kick-off.
That price is far more attractive than the odds-on 1/4 for a Gunners victory, and Arsene Wenger can clearly afford the luxury of resting World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski.
It means Arsenal’s centre back pairing should be Laurent Koscicelny, who is expected to be fit following an achilles knock, and summer signing Calum Chambers. The latter has just 90 minutes of senior football in the heart of defence, though.
Up against these two, Kieran Gibbs and another new Gunners recruit Mathieu Debuchy will be Fraizer Campbell. The former Manchester United frontman switched from Cardiff City to Palace for a bargain price of £900k. Campbell is 10/3 for a debut goal anytime here.
More likely to cap his Premier League bow by scoring is Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez, and odds of 6/5 say he will do just that. Yaya Sanogo also impressed in the easy Community Shield win over Manchester City, and is still waiting for his first competitive Gunners goal. It’s the same price he gets it here.
Joel Campbell is back with Wenger following a loan spell at Olympiakos and an impressive World Cup campaign with Costa Rica. He too will be licking his lips against an Eagles outfit now shorn of managerial leadership. Odds of 7/4 say Campbell can convert a chance anytime.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bagged a brace in the last meeting of the Gunners and Palace, so take the tempting 20/1 price for him to grab two goals or more again. Arsenal should literally be queuing up to score against the Eagles.
You almost feel sorry for caretaker Keith Millen, who is 12/1 to somehow pull off an opening day shock. The Gunners will guard against complacency, however, having seen Aston Villa upset them last term. Even a share of the spoils for Palace looks a remote prospect at 5/1.
Marouane Chamakh, once of Arsenal, will have to produce against his old club, if he is retained in the off-the-front role, if they harbour even the slimmest hope of a favourable result. The Moroccan is also 10/3 in the anytime market.
Glenn Murray and 2013/14 top scorer Dwight Gayle, meanwhile, are 5/2 apiece to get goals at the Emirates, but this fixture has a Gunners triumph written all over it. The time of Arsenal’s first goal was in the 41-50 bracket for both of last season’s encounters; it’s 7/1 on them breaking the deadlock then again in this one.
Potential debuts for new Eagles faces in defence, Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly, will make little difference. If Palace can keep the Gunners frontline out until either side of half time, then that will be a major achievement here. Over 2.5 Arsenal goals also represents decent value here at 13/10.
What price Wenger wins the title? It’s an industry-best 13/2. Palace, meanwhile, are 7/4 to be relegated.