Supporters of Arsenal will be full of optimism as they begin their Premier League campaign against a Crystal Palace side still reeling from the sudden and shock departure of manager Tony Pulis on Thursday evening.
Since winning the FA Cup in May, the Gunners have looked like a side that can finally make a serious challenge for the Premier League title once again. They swept aside reigning champions Manchester City – who were admittedly under-strength – in the Community Shield last time out, and after signing Alexis Sanchez to go with their other attacking options, this is the most eagerly anticipated season for Arsenal since they moved into the Emirates Stadium.
Keith Millen will take caretaker charge of Crystal Palace for this game, with Pulis having left in a dispute with co-chairman Steve Parish over transfers. As a result, their chances of repeating last season’s superb 11th place look to have been significantly reduced, with the man who revitalised the club now having left. That said, they have improved their defensive options, signing Brede Hangeland and Martin Kelly.
World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski are all likely to miss out for Arsenal, while goalkeeper David Ospina, winger Serge Gnabry and forward Theo Walcott are all sidelined.
Defenders Damien Delaney and Adrian Mariappa are both slight doubts for the Eagles, who could give a debut up front to new signing Fraizer Campbell.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal