Crystal Palace v Swansea
Saturday 26 August, 15:00
The Eagles have landed
Hopes were high ahead of the campaign for Crystal Palace as they really found their groove at the end of last year, and although losing Sam Allardyce was a blow, recruiting Frank de Boer as his replacement was a bit of a coup.
Pre-season was mixed but there were some bright spots, most notably the form of Wilfried Zaha. The former Manchester United winger couldn't make an impact in their opening game at home to Huddersfield though and he's now out with an injury.
Palace were embarrassed by the Terriers in that 3-0 defeat and while they played better at Anfield the following week, they still lost 1-0. The problem as far as I can see it is that the players are still getting used to playing in the style that de Boer is trying to promote.
The defenders are trying to play their way out from the back, but the midfielders aren't facing them to receive the ball and it reminds me of how Liverpool started under Brendan Rodgers.
A long road ahead for Clement
It was only in the final month of last season that Swansea dragged themselves out of the relegation mire and I can't see them doing much better this year.
Paul Clement is still to prove himself as a number one and he's lost his best players to Everton. His other star man, Fernando Llorente, remains sidelined with a broken arm, but he at least should be ready for action soon.
Their campaign has begun with a draw at Southampton and a 4-0 loss at home to Manchester United. They are yet to score in the Premier League, although they did put four past, MK Dons, in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.
One of the scorers at Stadium MK was Tammy Abraham and that would have done the Chelsea loanee's confidence the world of good. He will certainly be relishing the prospect of lining up against a shaky Palace backline.
Odds-on hosts not worth backing
The Betfair layers have this one priced up as 1.991/1 for Palace, 4.57/2 for the Swans and 3.613/5 for the draw. I have to say that the odds are about right as the Eagles were better at Anfield and they got their first victory of the campaign against Ipswich in the cup on Tuesday.
The fact that the victory over the Tractor Boys was at Selhurst Park is also a bonus for Palace backers as it should help banish the memories of the 3-0 loss to Huddersfield there.
Nevertheless, I still don't have enough faith in them at the even money mark as they could be prone to some inconsistent performances while their new system beds in.
I am half tempted to back the away win at 4.57/2 as Swansea looked good in the first half against United and they were really just blown away in a five minute spell late in the game. On top of that, they netted four times in their midweek cup win, so they will travel to London with renewed confidence.
Weighing everything up, however, I am going to give this market a swerve as the outcome is just too unpredictable and there is better value to be had elsewhere.
Backing goals is the way forward
The markets are predicting low-scoring affair as Under 2.5 goals is trading at around the 1.784/5 mark and Over 2.5 Goals is as high as 2.285/4.
I am definitely keen to back the outsider in this case as they have conceded eight goals between them in two games each this term and even in beating lower-level opposition in the week, they both failed to keep a clean sheet.
The negative is that despite their defensive woes, neither of them have scored a Premier League goal themselves in this campaign. The visitors have been up against two of the better defensive units in the division though and one of Crystal Palace's fixtures was at Liverpool - who aren't as poor defensively as the media can make out.
Tammy Abraham got his season off and running on Tuesday and Christian Benteke is a top-class striker when on-song. I certainly think that the value is in Over 2.5 at the prices, and as I doubt that either side will keep a clean sheet, a bet on Both teams to Score at 1.991/1 offers much more value than a home win at the same odds.
Andre Marriner is the man in charge at Selhurst Park on Saturday and he comes into the game having dished our red cards in two of his last three games. Sandwiched in-between that however is the Stoke v Arsenal match from last Saturday evening where he didn't even produce a booking.
As there isn't a huge rivalry between these two clubs, I'm not expecting a dirty game and I would imagine that there will be three or four yellows at most.
Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.285/4
Back Both teams to Score @ 1.991/1
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