I have a good feeling about this game and I’m a bit surprised to see Arsenal trading odds on.
Facts are that Arsenal struggle against Palace and have done for a while. The home side have lost only 1 of the last 8 against the Gunners, winning 2 and drawing 5. They also beat Arsenal 3-0 in April, at Palace.
Since Vieira arrived they have become very hard to beat on their own patch and only lost 4 at home all last season.
Arsenal always seem to find the first game of the season a struggle, too. they have only won 4 of the last 9 curtain raisers and started off with a 2-0 beating at Brentford last term.
The signing of Jesus is obviously going to be a great help as Arsenal’s main problem last year was the strikers were pants. Their top scorer last season was Saka and he only got 11 goals.
Arsenal cannot keep clean sheets either. they have let at least 1 goal in, in each of their last 10 league games so unless the close season has turned their back 4 into a brick wall, I expect Palace to score.
Palace finished with a run of 6 unbeaten at home last season and also won 3 of those. The fact that they also kept 5 successive clean sheets means Jesus has his work cut out to score on league debut for them. He did finish last season very strong for City though, 6 goals and an assist in his last 7 games.
Pre-season has gone better for Arsenal than Palace, that’s a fact. A few players missed their tour of Australia because they were not fit enough to travel and it’s no secret Vieira is looking to add a few players to his squad, especially after his best player of last season, Conor Gallagher, has had to return to Chelsea.
Good news for the home side is the return from injury of Eze. He had looked some player before having to quit for a while. Vieira also managed to persuade Doucoure to join palace rather than Arsenal so clearly some good players want to work with him.
I think if I was going to have a bet here it would be a score draw but I don’t bet for at least the first 4 weeks of a season because I don’t know how fit teams are, how new players will bed in, how 5 subs changes things so I’ll settle for a beer and just watching tonight.