After more than 10 weeks away, the Premier League finally returns, as Crystal Palace host Arsenal on Friday night.
Click here for Crystal Palace v Arsenal odds
I fancy the Eagles to improve upon their 12th-place finish last season – and have backed them at 14/1 to win the Premier League without the ‘big six’ – though they will have to adapt to life without Conor Gallagher.
The impressive Chelsea loanee scored eight goals and laid on three assists last term, helping guide Palace to a safe mid-table finish in Patrick Vieira’s first season, and I’m expecting them to kick on in 2023.
Wilfried Zaha will once again be counted on to score the goals, while the likes of Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchell will look to build on impressive seasons at the back, and may even find themselves knocking on Gareth Southgate’s door come late November.
Arsenal meanwhile present something of a new-look side, having added the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira and of course Gabriel Jesus, while welcoming William Saliba back from three seasons on loan in France.
The Gunners will have to juggle European football this season, but have strengthened their squad, while the youthful Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka will all benefit from being so heavily involved in Mikel Arteta’s side last season.
A top-four finish is becoming increasingly important for Arteta, and while a trip to Selhurst Park is never easy, a good performance on Friday night could lay down a real marker.
Jesus will be key to any hopes of success for Arsenal this season; his pre-season couldn’t have gone much better, firing seven goals, and one in four bets in the Top Goalscorer market have been placed on Jesus; I’m backing him to please the punters, finding the net at Selhurst Park as my first selection.
Gallagher was fantastic for the Eagles last season, but he also committed the most fouls in the Premier League. Cheick Doucoure is also no stranger to finding himself in referees’ notepads, having been booked 15 times across the last two seasons with Lens in Ligue 1, and I fancy the impressive defensive midfielder to appear in Anthony Taylor’s on the opening night.
Eberechi Eze is back fit, oozing quality and ready to step into Gallagher’s shoes after his Achilles issues last season. He’s had a decent pre-season with a number of goals and assists (I’m sure you’ve seen the clip from the Montpellier game; if not, seek it out) and I’m backing him to fire at least one shot off against the Gunners in what could be a real breakthrough season for the 24-year-old.
Gabriel Jesus To Score – 6/4
Cheick Doucoure To Be Booked – 5/2
Eberechi Eze Over 0.5 Shots – 4/7
Bet Builder boosted from 12/1 to 18/1
By Steve Freeth