The 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season was long coming, and, sometimes the wait felt longer than it actually was. Albeit Arsenal’s pre-season campaign gave us some food for thought, it’s nowhere close to the real deal. Isn’t it? To put things into perspective, however, this season would be no different to any other, with Aaron Ramsey convinced that six teams will be competing for the coveted trophy.
Arsenal, going into the new season, will have very high ambitions of being in the title race longer than they managed to last season. And – if they can get to March and April hovering around the summit position – there’s no reason why Wenger’s wizards can’t put the finishing touches to their long-awaited Premier League triumph.
To kick start their campaign, though, they will face Crystal Palace, who finished 11th last season, and will be buoyed by the prospect of extending their 2-year stay in the top flight. Tony Pulis’s men look like a solid unit and their late resurgence last season – once Pulis took over – will keep them in good stead going into the new season.
Players coming into the Emirates: Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and Calum Chambers.
Players who have gone out: Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Lukasz Fabianski and Nicklas Bendtner.
Players coming into Selhurst Park: Fraizer Campbell, Scott Dann, Brede Hangeland, Chris kettings.
Players who have gone out: Dean Moxey, Danny Gabbidon, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Neil Alexander.
Arsenal vs Crystal Palace
The first weekend of the Barclays Premier League season sees Arsenal face a home clash against Crystal Palace. Both clubs have had decent pre-season campaigns by their own standards, and now face the challenge of putting their pre-season preparations to good use in their respective Premier League campaigns.
Arsenal, with the new additions to their squad, are going to be genuine title contenders for the league title this season. Wenger seems to have developed a renewed hunger to win more silverware this season, following that FA Cup win at the end of last season, and it’s that attitude which will make Arsenal more dangerous than before.
From Crystal Palace’s perspective, they were in serious jeopardy of getting relegated close-to-midway last season, before the conjurer in Tony Pulis came to the rescue, and ensured safety for the Eagles. However, a new season will be a different kettle of fish altogether, and Palace would want to start off this season on a good note, with a series of good results.
Arsenal injury concerns
There was worrying news for the Gunners, a couple of days ago, that Koscielny had an injury scare, which could have kept the Frenchman out of action for a week or so. But latest reports suggest that the 28-year old is going to be fit for the 1st game of the season. The German trio, apparently, isn’t ready for action this week. Walcott and Miyachi are long term casualties.
Crystal Palace injury concerns
One of Palace’s key personnel, Damien Delaney is out with a minor knock, which is expected to keep the Northern Irishman out of action for this week, at least.
Arsenal’s probable starting XI – Formation 4-3-3: Wojciech Szczesny (GK), Mikel Arteta (C), Calum Chambers, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud.
Crystal Palace starting XI – Formation 4-4-2: Julian Speroni (GK), Mile Jedinak (C), Jason Puncheon, Yannick Bolasie, Marouane Chamakh, Scott Dann, Adrian Mariappa, Joe Ledley, Joel Ward, Dwight Gayle, Brede Hangeland.
What could Arsenal encounter against Crystal Palace?
Contrary to beliefs, this game, in my perspective, will be a tough one for the Gunners, even though they are at home to Palace. Having said that, I do believe Arsenal will win the game, but it’s not going to be easy. With the devastation of Pulis leaving Selhurst Park, citing transfer policy feud between him and the hierarchy, I am ambivalent about Palace’s game plan due to the psychological blow this incident could have on the players.
However, if Palace set out to be defensively robust, and ensure Arsenal don’t enjoy space and clear chances at goal, this could be a very intriguing game to witness. There will be early nerves in both camps, and if Palace can see out the initial period when Arsenal could dwarf possession, then it’s going to be anybody’s game.
Irrespective of the ammunition Crystal Palace might come up with, Arsenal really should have enough in their locker to see off the Eagles. Just get the feeling, though, that it’s going to be a tight game, which will test Arsenal’s title credentials.
Going for a 2-1 win for the hosts!