It’s easy to locate the biggest contrast in moods on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, because they are going to be lining up opposite each another at the Emirates Stadium.
In the red and white corner, Arsenal are brimming with confidence, determined to parade both the Community Shield and Alexis Sanchez as two trophies which underline that this season is going to be different than all the others.
Last weekend’s Wembley dismantling of a barely interested Manchester City could easily be written off by some – including City themselves – but it does have relevance here. It’s easy to foster a winning mentality when you keep collecting shiny things, and Arsene Wenger has picked up two in the last 90 days.
In the other corner – a sort of brighter yellow and sky blue one to go with this season’s away kit – Crystal Palace have been collecting nothing but quizzical looks in the past 48 hours.
A 65-word statement on the official club website is all that remains of Tony Pulis’s short but certainly sweet stint at Selhurst Park.
The Welshman’s almost miraculous act of solidifying and then elevating Palace was so good that it earned him the Premier League’s manager of the year award, but not, seemingly, any grace from the interference of chairman Steve Parish. None of those 65 words mention the club shooting themselves in the foot, but perhaps they should do.
Startled and back under the tutelage of caretaker Keith Millen – at least until Malky Mackay packs his bags for South London – Palace are ripe for the taking here, and Arsenal should exploit that.
Revved up on new hopes, new belief and new players, the Gunners should make a fast start in Saturday’s late kick-off. They are 1.68 to be ahead by half-time, it’s 2.60 for there to be over 1.5 goals in the first period and 2.95 for the first strike of the game to come in the first 15 minutes.
All eyes are obviously going to be on Sanchez in North London, but as last weekend proved the Gunners have other goal threats too.
Aaron Ramsey’s progression into the man who makes Wenger’s team tick has pretty much completed now, and he’ll be a good anytime goalscorer chance all season at prices like 2.90, whilst the same can be said of Santi Cazorla at 3.50.
Further back, Laurent Koscielny has proved his fitness and will be a threat from set-pieces at 8.00 any time.
Arsenal 3 Crystal Palace 0 at 7.50
Arsenal to lead at half-time 1.68
Arsenal to score over 2.5 goals 2.32
Over 1.5 goals in the first half 2.60
A Massive 99.4% of Unibet bettors betting on this match have backed Arsenal to win, do you agree with them?
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