Crystal Palace is likely to become the second favourite team of many English Premier League fans because the Eagles have an entertaining brand of football and they are punching above their weight under club legend Alan Pardew.
Recruiting Yohan Cabaye looks like a great piece of business and the France international has plenty of attacking talent to whom to feed the ball, including Patrick Bamford, Yannick Bolasie and Wilfred Zaha. Crystal Palace began its English Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win at Norwich and one thinks that the best bet in the second round of matches is over two and a half goals at odds of -105 with Bet365 when the Eagles host Arsenal in Sunday’s derby at Selhurst Park.
Pardew has instilled belief into Crystal Palace and one can see the Eagles going for gold at home to an Arsenal side that committed the football equivalent of suicide in its English Premier League curtain raiser against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal signed Petr Cech to strengthen its defence but the former Chelsea goalkeeper had a debut to forget, conceding two goals that were in the soft category.
Prospective English Premier League title winners should be taking three points from away games versus the likes of Crystal Palace, and Arsenal will be desperate – perhaps too desperate – to put its West Ham debacle behind it and move onwards and upwards. What one sees is the potential for a wide-open match in which both Crystal Palace and Arsenal prey on each other’s vulnerabilities. Arsenal defeated Crystal Palace 2-1 home and away in last term’s English Premier League and a similar scoreline would not be a shock, although one would rather back over two and a half goals at odds of -105 than Arsenal to win at a few rolls shorter.
Everton was unimpressive during the latter stages of its pre-season program and one thinks that the Toffees may come unstuck when they face Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday.
In nine months from now there is a good chance that a 2-2 English Premier League home draw with Watford will read badly and it followed friendly losses to a second-tier Leeds team and a Villarreal side nowhere near as deep into its preparations. Everton boss Roberto Martinez had the excuse of UEFA Europa League action for his team’s slide down the English Premier League ladder last season but the Toffees have no such distractions this term and the reality may be that they simply are not worthy of a top-10 position.
Southampton eliminated Vitesse from the UEFA Europa League 5-0 on aggregate and it kicked off its English Premier League challenge with a respectable 2-2 draw at Newcastle – the Magpies are unlikely to be relegation fodder this season following the arrival of Steve McClaren. Southampton ended last term 13 points ahead of Everton in the English Premier League and one would not be stunned if the Saints finished this season in front of the Toffees by a similar margin.
Finally, most English Premier League followers want to see Bournemouth do well in its first-ever top-flight campaign but the Cherries may be in over the heads based on their failure to derive anything from its history-making game against an Aston Villa side that few people rate highly.
Liverpool is a work in progress but the Reds made a series of good signings over the English summer and they are only going to improve as the season progresses. Bournemouth is going to find it much harder to score two, three or four goals per match in the English Premier League and one fears for the Cherries at the other end of the pitch if teams such as Liverpool hit their straps. The general odds of -200 about a Liverpool home victory over Bournemouth in the round’s final game on Monday are more than acceptable.
Palace v Arsenal Over 2.5 goals
16th August 13:30 GMT
Where to Bet: Bet365
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