Crystal Palace v Arsenal

Selhurst Park - 5/8/22 - 20.00pm

CRYSTAL PALACE

Both sides head into the 22/23 with much higher expectations than last season, Palace enjoyed a fine first season under Patrick Vieira with the ex Arsenal Player changing the style of play at Selhurst Park whilst also bringing the average age of the squad down considerably and despite a late season slump they finished comfortably in mid table and Vieira probably didnt get the credit he deserved for such a turn around.

Despite a shorter Pre-Season due to the mid season world cup Palace have been the busiest Premier League side playing no fewer than 8 games with a mixture of 1st team and youth players involved. They were beaten by both Man Utd & Liverpool on the tour of the far east and Australia but did draw 1-1 with Leeds in Brisbane before returning to the UK with emphatic wins over QPR (3-0) and Montpellier (4-2) over the last 2 weekends.

Vieira is not without injury issues for this opening fixture against his former side with new signing Cheick Doucoure yet to feature for his new side and James MaCarthur and Michael Olise both remain on the sidelines as well as goalkeepers Jack Butland and Sam Johnstone.

Palace fans will have to wait for a glimpse of new signing Cheick Doucoure

ARSENAL

Arsenal looked set for Champions League football for much of last season but ran out of steam late on to be pipped for 4th spot by north london rivals Tottenham. Whilst this would have been a frustration for all at The Emirates it is clear that Mikel Arteta is slowly building a squad to bring Arsenal back to their former glories and the signings of Fabio Vieira, OIeksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus look like shrewd business.

Arsenal will be hoping to avoid the humbling they suffered on the opening day of last season against newly promoted Brentford and all the signs in pre season look positive. Mikel Arteta’s men have played 5 fixtures and despite a 2-0 defeat to Everton they have looked superb with victories of Nurnberg (5-3) Orlando City (3-1) Chelsea (4-0) and last Saturday when they demolished Sevilla 6-0 at The Emirates.

Gabriel Jesus has been on fire in pre season scoring goals for fun and he will lead the line at Selhurst Park with Zinchenko also likely to make his debut but Fabio Vieira will have to wait for his Arsenal bow as he is injured. Emile Smith-Rowe will also miss the game due to a groin injury but Kieran Tierney and Takehiro Tomiyaso are close to returning having been nursing injuries during the off season.

Gabriel Jesus has been in fantastic form during Pre-Season

HEAD TO HEAD - LAST 6

27 Oct 2019 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 2-2 Premier League
11 Jan 2020 Crystal Palace v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
14 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 0-0 Premier League
19 May 2021 Crystal Palace v Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
18 Oct 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 2-2 Premier League
04 Apr 2022 Crystal Palace v Arsenal L 3-0 Premier League

PREDICTION

I expect both of these teams to improve this season and improve on where they finished last time out and it will be an interesting game to see how a shortened pre season has affected both squads. 

The first couple of weeks can sometimes throw up a couple of surprise results in the Premier league so value may lie away from the result of this match. 

Gabriel Jesus just didnt get the minutes he needed at Man City under Guardiola but he will be the main man up top for Arsenal this season and his signing could be one of the best bits of business done by any club and with his excellent form in pre season he looks good value at 5/1 (Betfred) to score the opening goal.

My main bet however will be over 2.5 Goals, only one of the last eight at Selhurst Park between these sides has finished with less than 3 goals and both attacks have fired during pre season thus far. The Over 2.5 Goals at (Mr Green) looks excellent value.

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