Crystal Palace v Bournemouth - Saturday 15:00
Crystal Palace have started the new season in the same way the ended the last, with a chronic lack of goals that has seen them score just three times in their last eight Premier League fixtures. Enter Christian Benteke, who looks a far better fit to the style of play at Selhurst Park than he did in Liverpool colours. However, whilst the big man should feed well off the service from out wide, he lacks game-time having been reduced to a bit part role at Liverpool, and it remains to be seen how his confidence will have been affected.
In their opening two fixtures Palace aimed to keep things tight and hit their opponents on the counter, and despite Bournemouth’s own worrying form combined with home advantage it is unlikely Alan Pardew will change his approach for this game. Whilst Yohan Cabaye should start after two substitute appearances following his Euro 2016 exploits, James McArthur’s continued absence through injury remains a major concern. Palace’s poor form in 2016 has been largely attributed to a lack of a goalscorer and a spell out injured for Yannick Bolasie, yet perhaps underappreciated has been the Scottish midfielder’s ability with the ball, and their only win in the last 13 matches he’s failed to start was a 1-0 success over relegated Norwich last term.
Bournemouth have lost eight of their last ten games themselves, and in Callum Wilson also hold a star striker in need of match fitness. They created few chances against West Ham last week before succumbing to a late goal, and with Harry Arter suspended following his sending off should have their creativity further diminished. All this points to a dour game, and so we’re backing the Under 1.5 goals market at 3.1.However, given the Cherries have kept just one clean sheet in the 17 matches Arter has failed to start since the beginning of last season, correct score punters might fancy a bit of the 1-0 to Palace at 7.5.