The Eagles subjected Sheffield United to a 1-0 beating at Bramall Lane last weekend, while Mikel Arteta’s side got the better of Nottingham Forest 2-1.
Even without the mercurial Wilfried Zaha or influential assist king Michael Olise – who has remarkably snubbed interest from Chelsea in order to extend his stay at Selhurst Park – Palace deservedly put Sheffield United to the sword last weekend thanks to Odsonne Edouard’s close-range finish.
It could and probably should have been more for the Eagles, who were thwarted by Blades number one Wes Foderingham on several occasions, but Roy Hodgson still celebrated his recent 76th birthday in ideal fashion as Palace rose into the top five of the table with just one game played.
Of course, few will expect the Eagles to still be occupying a European berth when all is said and done in the 2023-24 Premier League, but Palace now have a chance to open a top-flight season with back-to-back wins for the first time since the 2020-21 campaign, which was Hodgson’s first at the helm.
Furthermore, Palace managed to turn Selhurst Park into somewhat of a fortress last season, as they only lost five times at home throughout the campaign and took 11 points from the final 15 on offer in front of their own supporters, as Liverpool and Manchester United both came up short on the Eagles’ turf.
However, four of Palace’s five Premier League home defeats last term came against fellow teams from the capital – the outlier being a 1-0 loss to Manchester City – and Arsenal’s affinity for local rivalries last season was well-documented indeed.
Arsenal and Palace can empathise when it comes to starting the season without key attackers, as Gabriel Jesus continues his rehabilitation from a knee operation, but as was the case over the winter, Eddie Nketiah proved a more than capable deputy to the Brazilian number nine.
Aided by an outrageous piece of skill from Gabriel Martinelli, the former England Under-21 international fired Arsenal into the lead against Nottingham Forest last weekend, before Bukayo Saka gave ex-Arsenal man Matt Turner an even harsher homecoming with a rocket into the top corner.
However, as was the case several times last season, Mikel Arteta’s side switched off after taking a 2-0 lead and offered Forest a route back into the game through Taiwo Awoniyi’s lightning-quick counter-attacking goal – triggering flashbacks of last year’s Liverpool and West Ham United capitulations – but the Gunners held on for an uncomfortable triumph.
Last year’s runners-up now return to the road after registering 10 clean sheets on away territory last term – by far the most in the league, as was their tally of 39 points on their travels – but from Arteta’s four games in charge on a Monday night, the Gunners have lost all four of them.
Such a historical statistic may pale into insignificance, though, as Arsenal set a new record for London derby successes last term – winning 10 of their 12 such affairs, the first of which came in a 2-0 triumph at Selhurst Park before romping Paddy McCarthy’s Palace 4-1 at their Emirates headquarters.
Crystal Palace Premier League form:
Arsenal Premier League form:
We say: Crystal Palace 0-2 Arsenal
Palace maybe deserved more than just the one goal at Bramall Lane last weekend, and Eberechi Eze needs no second invitation to create openings for his teammates, but we can only see Monday’s capital clash going one way.
London derbies and away matches were Arsenal’s bread and butter last term, and even though Arteta’s men left something to be desired on the opening day, three points should be theirs at Selhurst Park.