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Arsenal vs Crystal Palace Preview

Written by @Chadley_N for @HollywoodbetsFollow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 


Arsenal vs Crystal Palace | Saturday 16 August | Emirates Stadium | 18:30

arsenal2Bvs2Bpalace2BintroCommunity Shield holders Arsenal welcome Crystal Palace to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday evening as they kick off their 2014/15 league campaign. The Gunners have an excellent record against the Eagles having won the last three encounters, scoring nine goals and conceding just one. The last time Palace beat Arsenal goes all the way back to 1994 where they won 2-1 at Highbury. Crystal Palace will be pleased with a second term in the world’s most competitive league and closed last season in an impressive eleventh position.

arsenal2Bvs2Bpalace2B1To Win (90mins)
Arsenal 1/4
Draw 43/10
Crystal Palace 95/10

Arsenal
Arsenal enter this season under significantly less pressure than the last. The long wait for silverware is over. Back in May, Arsenal ended a nine-year trophy drought by lifting the FA Cup and claimed the Community Shield with a 3-0 victory over Manchester City last weekend. It means that everyone around the club—fans, players, and manager alike—can begin the campaign liberated from some of the anxiety that has surrounded the Gunners in previous years. Aaron Ramsey’s outstanding form was one of the undoubted highlights of Arsenal’s 2013/14 campaign. The Welshman built on a solid 2012/13 to enjoy a spectacular season, ending up as the club’s undisputed Player of the Year. He will be an important player for the Gunners this season provided he can stay fit. Mesut Ozil should be primed to make a significant impact this season. Ozil’s class is not in question, but he has struggled to influence on the big occasions since moving to north London. Now accustomed to the rigours of the English game, he ought to be in a far better position to make his presence felt in the Premier League.

One of the most exciting aspects of any new season is the arrival of some new faces. Having lost the likes of Lukasz Fabianski, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen and Nicklas Bendtner, Arsene Wenger has made some quality additions to his squad to challenge for the league title. The Gunners boss has added goalkeeper David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and Alexis Sanchez and recalled youngster Joel Campbell, who had a successful loan spell at Olympiacos. In Debuchy, Wenger has secured a very proficient footballer and proven Premier League performer who is capable of filling the void left by Sagna immediately. All eyes will be on Sanchez this match as he makes his league debut for the Gunners. The former Barcelona star scored an impressive nineteen goals last season which is a magnificent feat for an attacking midfielder. At times, he resembles a tasmanian devil, terrorising defences with his irrepressible movement and immaculate close control. He could cause the Eagles all kinds of problems and will be difficult to mark.

Crystal Palace

arsenal2Bvs2Bpalace2B2

Crystal Palace start their second successive top flight campaign against last year’s fourth place finishers and FA Cup winners in what is a tough opening fixture at the Emirates Stadium. Palace lost the corresponding fixture 2-0 last season, with England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scoring both goals. Palace will be looking for another successful campaign after securing their league status well before the end of last season. It would not be out of order to put this huge turn in fortune down to one man, Tony Pulis. Not every football fan’s cup of tea, Pulis has steered the rickety old Palace boat with a steady hand and a master plan. Dwight Gayle was impressive last season, netting seven times in eight starts and fifteen substitute appearances for the Eagles. His energy and movement could be a nuisance for the likes of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

Yannick Bolasie is another vital player for Pulis’ side which was evident last season. His pace, strength, desire and determination are what make him a great player and he will be looking to make an impact against his London rivals. Captain Mile Jedinak was a star man last season for Palace and is destined to once again stand out. The Australian is known for his immense aerial ability, strong tackling and his leadership on the pitch. Jedinak creates numerous chances with his wonderful range of passing and also chips in with an odd goal every so often. It will be a difficult game for Pulis’ men but they will fancy their chances as they caused some major upsets last season, beating the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United. New signing Fraizer Campbell, who signed from Cardiff, will likely lead the attack and will be looking to open his account for the Eagles.

VERDICT: Arsenal 1/4
Arsenal have a strong recent record at home, having won thirteen matches from nineteen games played last season, suffering just one defeat. Arsene Wenger believes he now has a team well capable of winning the league title and will be looking for victory in his opening fixture. The Gunners should dominate possession and their patience should allow them to unlock Palace’s defence and get the goals to win the game.

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