Arsenal’s new boys can help lift the Robin Van Persie induced gloom surrounding the Emirates Stadium by firing the Gunners to three points against Sunderland.
Arsene Wenger’s new-look side will be chomping at the bit to start this season better than last, and can be backed at 10/11 to be winning at both half-time and full-time.
Arsenal are used to dominant opening day displays, having led at half-time before taking all three points against Birmingham (’02,) West Brom (‘08), and against Everton twice (‘03 and ‘09) during the last decade.
Despite the North London club’s chaotic beginning to the last campaign, the Gunners seem to have learnt their harsh lessons of 2011, splashing nearly £40m out on proven international talent before the departure of Van Persie was confirmed.
Midfield anchor Alex Song may be set to follow RVP out the exit door, but the signings of Lukas Podolski (£11m), Olivier Giroud (£12m) and Santi Cazorla (£15m) have excited fans.
The trio are all likely to feature against Martin O’Neill’s side, and any of the three represent good value for first goalscorer.
Podolski scored two in the pre-season friendly against former club Cologne, and both he and Giroud are 4/1 to open the scoring versus Sunderland, while playmaker Cazorla is a longer punt at 8/1.
Arsenal are also usually quick out off the Premier League blocks, and haven’t lost an opening day fixture for over 10 years.
However, the Gunners last curtain-raiser defeat came against Sunderland in the 2000/01 season, even if the Black Cats have only won one of their last 17 clashes with Arsenal since.
A third league win for Sunderland against Wenger’s team since the turn of the millennium – and their first at the Emirates Stadium – is priced at 7/1, while the draw can be backed at 4/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.