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History offers Palace hope of opening day win

| 19.06.2013

The moment fans of the Premier League’s new boys have been waiting for has arrived; the fixture list for the new campaign has been announced and plans for glamorous road trips can begin.

Crystal Palace and Hull have been handed juicy opening day whistle-whetters against Tottenham and Chelsea, but it’s Cardiff who look to have the least daunting opponents.

Ladbrokes are offering 15/8 about any one of the newly-promoted sides thumbing their nose at the status quo with a win, with 9/1 the price about two teams netting three points and a whopping 275/1 about all three emerging victorious from their opening fixtures.

It’s Steve Bruce’s Hull City who have been dealt the harshest hand, with the Championship silver medallists making the trip to Stamford Bridge for their curtain-raiser. Chelsea are notorious for both strong starts to league campaigns and home impregnability against those destined for bottom-half finishes.

The Blues have lost to a side that ended the season below 10th spot in the league just twice since 2003. They’re also peerless in terms of first-day form, topping the all-time Premier League opening day points list and they’ve won 10 of their last 11 initial outings in the competition.

The Tigers are priced up at a seemingly-doomed 14/1 for victory in West London.

The news that Tottenham arrive at Selhurst Park for Crystal Palace’s first foray into the big league since 2004/05 will have Eagles’ fans walking with a spring in their step. Spurs have beaten Palace just once in the sides’ eight Premier-League-era meetings.

In addition they could be helped by a Lilywhites’ road-defence that was generous in the closing stages of last season, going nine road-games without a clean sheet before their summer hols.

Ian Holloway’s men lost just two home games in all competitions last term and could catch their illustrious opponents if playing with the committed intensity of their play-off final victory.

Spurs have been traditionally weak in top flight season-starters in recent years too – taking just 10 points in the last 12 seasons – making Palace the best value first day winner of the new boys at 7/2.

Cardiff have been dealt arguably the most moderate opposition of the newbies in West Ham, yet the Hammers are keen observers of football’s class system at Upton Park, only losing five league games last season – all to top- six rivals.

Both sides have overhauled their staff to a similar degree since they faced-off four times in the 2011/12 campaign. West Ham won three of their meetings to nil that season, making it seem hard for Cardiff to turn the tide this time around.

Given the way in which the fixture cookie has crumbled, the 15/8 about one promoted side grabbing a victory on the opening day looks the least heinous of the “special” options available, but punters may be better served taking the 7/2 about a Palace victory instead.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Thomas Reynolds