Arsenal will be aiming to hit the ground running when they welcome Nottingham Forest to the Emirates for their opening Premier League game on Saturday which is a lunchtime kick-off.
Mikel Arteta’s charges will be in buoyant mood after they lifted the Community Shield last Sunday with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Manchester City.
The Gunners enjoyed their best domestic campaign in 19 years when they returned a total of 84 points, five short of City, who were unstoppable in the last third of the season.
City remains the benchmark for Arsenal, but Arteta’s side will be hoping they can mount another title challenge while juggling the demands of Champions League football.
Meanwhile, Forest went into overdrive in the transfer window 12 months ago. Although Steve Cooper managed to keep them up, he has been linked to the vacant Wolves post after Julen Lopetegui left Molineux earlier this week.
But how will Forest fare on their first visit to the capital this term? I have delved into the markets and handpicked a couple of tips for you to mull over.
Arsenal to record thumping win
Last season, the Gunners came flying out of the traps, and this term, they don’t have an arduous-looking set of fixtures to see them through the first few weeks.
Of course, the minimum remit for Arsenal be a top-four, finish, but as the bulk of the squad will have had the experience of being involved in a title race (albeit a painful one), it will fuel them even more to do well.
There have been some fresh faces brought in, including Kai Havertz from Chelsea, while former Brentford shot-stopper David Raya is likely to push Aaron Ramsdale for the No.1 spot.
Forest clambered to 16th spot last term, but they leaked 68 goals across the league which was rather disconcerting.
Yes, the Midlands outfit did beat the Gunners at home 1-0 in May, but their previous visit to the Emirates saw them crash to a resounding 5-0 defeat.
I don’t expect a repeat result, but it could still be a chastening day for Forest, and I think Arsenal will pick the visitors off at will. For my first pick, I have sided with the Correct Score line and backed Arsenal to cruise to a thumping 4-0 win, which is trading at 11/1 with bet365.
Bukayo Saka to be the chief tormentor
Despite a slow start on the scoring front for Saka last term where he fired blanks in his first five league outings, he’s just too good to keep quiet.
Arsenal should be more threatening going forward with the addition of Havertz, while Leandro Trossard has already shown what he could produce.
But Saka is a slippery customer. He loves to cut in and get a shot away, and Forest will have to be switched on for the entire 90 minutes or Saka could punish them.
Last term, Saka rattled 22 goals for club and country, and he could find plenty of joy against Forest.
To round things up, I have sided with Saka to grab a double, which if you fancy following up on, is priced at a tempting 10/1 with William Hill.