Crystal Palace- Manchester City
I do not want to spend too long on this, I have no issue with City as EPL favourites and they might even run away with the title, but they were not favourites pre season and to be quoted at 1.44-1.50 after four matches is absolutely crazy in my opinion.
"Palace are their closest challengers at present and they have made a very solid start to their season and to out bets on them in the outright markets, pre season I wrote ....
Palace had a great first season in the Premier league in 2013-14 finishing 11th, the second season is always the tough one and they looked in trouble at the turn of the year, but Alan Pardew arrived at New Year and the favourite son of Palace fans took them on an amazing run, 32 points in the second half of the season which equates to 5th spot over a full campaign and they finished tenth, three points and one spot better than under Tony Pulis. This was not a total surprise, ok maybe the manner or it was, but I know a couple of Palace supporters and was well aware of how much Pardew is loved there and the galvanising effect he could have on the club and when he is supported and backed, he is a good coach. We discussed his arrival in some depth and notes from his first couple of starts are reproduced below and they beat Tottenham in that first home league game.
Where can they go from here ? That is the big question and to be honest, for any mid table side and we have to now consider Palace that, it is always easier to fall back and get involved in a relegation scrap, which is obviously easier than the quantum leap required to challenge for a top six spot, but I do not see them heading downwards and there is a bit of leeway in terms of a 7-10th place finish. Pardew took West Ham United to 9th and an FA Cup Final in the same season and Newcastle United into Europe, so has history, but South London is where his heart is being a local lad and he has certainly not lacked for support from the board, who have allowed him to upgrade his squad significantly. He has signed Yohan Cabaye (PSG) a player he had under him at Newcastle, Patrick Bamford (Chelsea) and Connor Wickham ( Sunderland) , without losing anyone he wanted to keep from last season's squad, this is hugely impressive and I see improvement likely for the Eagles. There is certainly room for it in terms of home form, last season they collect 27 of 48 points on the road and lost ten times at Selhurst Park, which was surprising as the atmosphere there is incredibly good, Even if they could just find another 9 points winning three of those ten, that would have been enough for 8th and to within two points of Southampton who had a stunning season. Obviously there is good potential and still room to improve.
I am going to suggest we split our stakes and bet them to finish "best of the rest" so without the big 6 clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool and Tottenham, along with a top ten finish bet, they were within a spot in 2013-14, made it last season and have majorly upgraded their squad and odds look too big, for what I make a coin flip."
I am full of admiration for the job that Alan Pardew has done and he is the right coach, for the right club (his club) at the right time and I have seen nothing to make me think they will not be competing for a top 6-8 spot, maybe even better and the squad is very strong with Pardew looking to push out on loan, players whom supporters would have been drooling over 18 months ago. Having already beaten Chelsea and Arsenal, City will not have the Eagles quaking in their boots and Palace beat the light blues here just five months ago and a repeat would certainly not surprise, although this has a drawish look to me, regardless of which, the handicap start is too big for me to resist.
Crystal Palace +0.75 ball 2.00 asian line/Sportmarket.