Monday, August 21st, 8pm. Selhurst Park.
Both of these sides opened the new Premier League season with a victory, but can a weakened Crystal Palace side match up to an Arsenal outfit with dreams of the title?
Arsenal were efficient in the early stages against Nottingham Forest, but they had a nervy finish to the game after Forest pulled one back.
They looked too easily exposed by pace, so the Gunners will be glad that Palace lost Wilfried Zaha in the summer and have Michael Olise sidelined.
The hosts eased past Sheffield United in their opener, but this is a completely different scale of challenge as Roy Hodgson hopes to protect his unbeaten home record since returning to the club.
The hosts are without the injured Olise and midfielder Will Hughes. Summer signing Matheus Franca isn’t ready for a debut, leaving Jordan Ayew to stand in out wide.
For Arsenal, summer addition Jurrien Timber is sidelined for a significant chunk of the campaign after picking up a knee injury during his league debut last weekend. Gabriel Jesus remains out and Oleksandr Zinchenko is a doubt.
Over 1.5 Arsenal goals @ 8/11
Arsenal have made some real statement signings this summer and that has boosted their squad depth. Not only do they have plenty of competition for places, but they have goal threat all over the pitch.
Declan Rice showed for West Ham that he can be more than just a water carrier in midfield. He’s the more defensive member of the midfield trio, with Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard expected to rampage forward.
Eddie Nketiah scored against Forest starting in place of Jesus, while Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka scored 29 times between them last season.
This Arsenal side have so many options going forward that it is tough to see Palace keeping them quiet. The visitors scored twice in 32 minutes against Forest and they could have hit more if they didn’t ease back as the game progressed.
The Gunners should be allowed a little more room to counter as the away side here and if they can make some early inroads then they can pick the Eagles off as the game progresses.
Palace have an organised defence but they’re facing a quality forward line and given that the Gunners hit six goals across two meetings last term, over 1.5 Arsenal goals is good value.
The Eagles scored 1.05 goals per game last term and considering Arsenal’s nervy end to their Forest win, the hosts have a chance of scoring, so a 3-1 away win appeals as a correct score at 12/1.
Gabriel Martinelli to score first @ 11/2
Martinelli finished last term as Arsenal’s top scorer in the Premier League with 15 goals and the Brazilian opened the scoring on seven occasions for his side.
He was able to get the opening goal against Palace within half an hour in both clashes last term and Martinelli is worth a look in the first goalscorer market this time around.
While the Brazilian didn’t find the net against Forest, this Arsenal side tend to share the goals around and breaking from the left, the winger could make the most of his pace up against 33-year-old right-back Joel Ward.