You will not find two English clubs going through more contrasting emotions at the start of the Premier League season than Arsenal and Crystal Palace.
The Gunners are currently primed for a shot at winning the title, having added Chile superstar Alexis Sanchez to a cast of cultured players in their prime.
Palace, meanwhile, lost manager-of-the-year Tony Pulis two days before their opening fixture as the club parted ways with the veteran boss who achieved so much in his short tenure at Selhurst Park.
Here is how you can watch this north vs. south, capital city derby match:
When: Saturday, Aug. 16, at 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET
Where: The Emirates, London, England
TV Info: Live on Sky Sports 1 & HD (UK only), NBC and mun2 (US only)
Alexis Sanchez To Shine
Arsenal have gone from a club that scouts burgeoning, low-cost talent to a team that now buys the very best.
After the shock purchase of Mesut Ozil 12 months ago, Arsene Wenger followed up this summer with the outstanding purchase of Barcelona attacker Alexis.
The Chilean has long been one of the most exciting talents in Europe after his exploits in Serie A and La Liga. And he once again proved his prowess at the recent World Cup in Brazil.
The player grabbed two goals and an assist in his four matches, per WhoScored.com, as Chile impressed in South America.
However, Wenger recently spoke about the player's capture after Arsenal's Community Shield win over Manchester City, highlighting that the 25-year-old may need some time to reach his top level, per Oliver Todd of the Mail Online:
In the last two years we’ve added (Mesut) Ozil and Sanchez and every year before that we lost big transfers—so that of course strengthens the squad. He's not completely ready but in the first half he was lively; it is very promising for the future.
It will be an interesting season. People who watch the Premier League should be excited because there are so many strong teams in the league.
Alexis is the type of player any big club would want, and Wenger has pulled off a major coup in getting him to the Emirates.
There is still a feeling that Arsenal need to add a major striker to their ranks, but with Alexis, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott all capable of adding double figures to the goal count from deeper, they may not need one.
Sanchez and Ozil could become the Premier League's most irrepressible combination as Wenger finally looks to land the title. If Olivier Giroud can also find the net on a more regular basis, Arsenal now have their biggest chance of major glory in many years.
Pulis Exit a Disaster For Palace
With just hours to go before the kick-off of the new season, Crystal Palace are without a manager. Tony Pulis left the club under a cloud on Thursday, per John Cross of The Mirror, amid rumours of boardroom arguments and broken promises.
Pulis was voted as the Premier League's Manager of the Year after an amazing season with Palace in 2013-14, taking the team from relegation certainties to almost impossible to beat.
Palace surged up the table as many teams perceived to be better than them fell at their feet, particularly at Selhurst Park.
But Daniel Taylor of The Guardian confirmed that tensions had been building between Pulis and his chairman for months, with the Sunday Times' John Northcroft explaining that the manager's expensive outlays may have been a major issue:
Palace now seem certain to struggle unless they can find a new boss who can replicate Pulis' magic. It is easy to underestimate a coach's contribution to a collective of millionaire footballers, but Pulis proved how you can get an elevated performance through solid tactics and organisation.
In recent times, the Eagles showed a tremendous amount of steel in defence, and they will have to find a way to duplicate that strength without Pulis.
Palace have now added Liverpool's Martin Kelly to their ranks, per Hannah Duncan of Metro, and his arrival will go some way to adding the quality they need to stay up, but it is impossible to predict how the team will cope at the Emirates after their managerial collapse.
Palace were highly motivated under the former Stoke manager, and it is questionable whether this will still be evident against Arsenal.
However the Palace board wish to proceed, they will find the immediate task of avoiding defeats incredibly difficult after the heart of the club was ripped out this close to a new campaign.
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