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Punters go for Gunners following Shield success

IT MAY be dismissed as a glorified friendly, but Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Chelsea in Sunday’s Community Shield has rocked the betting market for this season’s Premier League title.

With the start of the season just five days away, punters are showing plenty of faith in Arsene Wenger’s side after the Gunners manager ended a 14-match winless run against teams managed by Jose Mourinho with victory at Wembley.

Bet365 had Arsenal at 7-1 to win their first Premier League crown since 2004 when they opened the market but sustained support has seen the north London outfit halved to 7-2.

Betway, Coral, Hills and Paddy Power are also taking no chances by cutting Arsenal to 4-1, but 9-2 was still available with Betfred, BoyleSports and Ladbrokes on Sunday night, after a goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was enough to defeat the champions.

Chelsea, who rested star striker Diego Costa after he aggravated a hamstring injury in a friendly against Barcelona last week, are out to 7-4 with Coral to retain their title.

The Blues had been 13-8 favourites for the Wembley clash but punters piled into Arsenal after Costa’s absence was announced.

Mourinho had said on Friday that the Spain striker would be fit but he is now fighting to take his place for their league opener against Swansea this Sunday.

Bet365 offer 6-4 that Arsenal finish above their west London rivals this season, with the champions available at 1-2 to come out on top of that match bet.

Manchester City, who start their campaign with a trip to West Brom, are a general 11-4 to regain the title they surrendered to Mourinho’s side in May.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere was missing from the celebrations after suffering an ankle injury in training, but he has been linked with a move to the Etihad.

Betfred reacted to the speculation by cutting him to 2-1 from 4-1 to make the move to City before the closure of this month’s transfer window.

Manchester United midfielder Angel di Maria’s one-year stay at Old Trafford is drawing to a close as the Argentinian is due to have a medical on Monday at Ligue 1 champions Paris St-Germain.

The fee for the 27-year-old, who cost United £59.7m and did not start a game for the Red Devils after being sent off in their FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal, is expected to be £44.5m.

Hearts, who won the Scottish Championship last season by 21 points, got their Ladbrokes Premiership campaign off to a winning start with a 4-3 victory over St Johnstone.

Aberdeen also claimed three points in their opener, winning 1-0 at Dundee United.