As was the case last year, the 2022-23 Premier League season kicks off with a London derby, as Crystal Palace welcome Arsenal to Selhurst Park tonight.
Patrick Vieira’s side thumped the Gunners 3-0 in this fixture only a few months ago, but Mikel Arteta has worked to plug the gaps in his Gunners XI during a productive summer.
Taking four points from a possible six against his former club last season, Patrick Vieira slammed the Emirates turf in frustration when his side gave away two points in a 2-2 draw with Arsenal before witnessing his side outclass the Gunners in April.
By leading the Eagles to a 12th-placed finish last season, as well as reaching the semi-finals of the FA Cup, former Invincibles captain Vieira earned a manager of the season nomination, and optimism is high around Selhurst Park under the Frenchman.
While witnessing Conor Gallagher return to Chelsea was a bitter blow, Cheick Doucoure and Malcolm Ebiowei are ready to make their mark in the English capital, and the end of pre-season was largely positive for Vieira’s side.
The Eagles enter this game after back-to-back wins over Queens Park Rangers and Montpellier HSC in friendly battles, and their only defeats of the exhibition period came at the hands of Liverpool and Manchester United.
Kicking off the season at Selhurst Park is just what the doctor ordered for Palace, who went unbeaten in their last six home games last season and remarkably managed to keep clean sheets in each of their last five – no mean feat with Arsenal, Man United and Manchester City all featuring in that list.