Tuck into the turkey sandwiches, sit back and relax – it’s time for a feast of Boxing Day football in the Premier League.
Here are our Premier League predictions ahead of a Boxing Day bonanza of football…
Fulham vs Wolves
Case for the home side: Progress has been minimal, but home form has picked up a little under Claudio Ranieri’s reign. Can the Cottagers use their attacking talent to overpower Wolves?
Case for the away side: Wolves are happy to keep the ball and wait for the right opportunity to come along. Nuno will have a plan to pick apart Fulham’s haphazard defence.
Verdict: A point that will do little to please Ranieri. 1-1
Burnley vs Everton
Case for the home side: Back-to-basics play looks to be the recipe to keep Burnley up, and Marco Silva’s side are capable of blowing hot and cold away from home. Expect the Clarets to keep it tight.
Case for the away side: Everton have the players that can produce the individual moments of quality in this one that can nick a hard-fought win on the road.
Verdict: The Toffees to snatch it. 1-2
Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City
Case for the home side: The 1-0 home win against Leicester last time around at Selhurst Park suggests Roy Hodgson is making baby steps towards improving Palace’s indifferent home form – and that should help Palace over the line this season.
Case for the away side: A gruelling festive schedule won’t phase Neil Warnock, who has years of Championship experience to draw upon to get the most out of a quick turnaround of fixtures. Expect the Bluebirds to dig their heels in.
Verdict: A vital three points for Palace in the race to avoid relegation. 2-1
Leicester City vs Man City
Case for the home side: City have found Leicester a tough nut to crack at the King Power in recent seasons, both in league and cup encounters. The Foxes will look to draw on that despite a tricky recent run.
Case for the away side: Squad rotation – City can call upon a huge range of talent and keep things fresh as the festive fixtures stack up.
Verdict: City to take the Boxing Day spoils. 0-2
Liverpool vs Newcastle
Case for the home side: Jürgen Klopp’s side are starting to look relentless at Anfield – and if they get the upper hand early against an organised but limited Newcastle, it could be a long day for Rafa Benítez’s side.
Case for the away side: Rafa is always a man with a plan. If any Premier League manager can keep Liverpool’s strike-force quiet, it’s him.
Verdict: Another win for the high-flying Reds. 2-0
Man Utd vs Huddersfield
Case for the home side: Old Trafford will be roaring as they welcome back a club legend in Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. The change in atmosphere alone could help Utd put on a display.
Case for the away side: Jose Mourinho may now be the Ghost of Christmas Past, but will Utd’s struggles continue on home soil? Huddersfield will be more than happy to sit back and wait for the point – so the onus will be on Ole’s men.
Verdict: Finally some joy for the home faithful. 2-0
Spurs vs Bournemouth
Case for the home side: Spurs have found different ways to win at Wembley in recent weeks, deservedly seeing off Chelsea and Southampton and scraping home against Burnley. They will need that mix-and-match approach to keep in touching distance of the league leaders.
Case for the away side: Could an attacking Cherries line-up take advantage of a Spurs squad that looks a lot thinner than many of the other Top 6 clubs? A ‘Spursy’ result is always a possibility when the fixtures stack up.
Verdict: Pochettino’s side to get the job done. 2-0
Brighton vs Arsenal
Case for the home side: This fixture produced one of Brighton’s best performances last season as an early double salvo guided them to a 2-1 win. Home form currently looks set to keep them away from danger again.
Case for the away side: Arsenal are made of a lot stronger stuff this campaign. The blip at Southampton aside, they have the pace to pick apart a functional Seagulls side.
Verdict: A reverse of last season’s fixture. 1-2
Watford vs Chelsea
Case for the home side: Memories will still be fresh of the 4-1 mauling the Hornets inflicted on Chelsea in their best performance of last season.
Case for the away side: Six months into the season, Maurizio Sarri has Chelsea ticking along nicely and they look far less likely to slip up against non-‘Big Six’ clubs.
Verdict: Watford to make life tricky for Sarri, but Chelsea to take the points. 1-3
Southampton vs West Ham
Case for the home side: Performances generally seem to have picked up under Ralph Hasenhüttl, who will be aware changing the record at home will be the key to Saints’ survival chances this season.
Case for the away side: Manuel Pellegrini’s side now looks capable of scoring in every game and should test a leaky Saints defence.
Verdict: A setback for Saints’ new Austrian boss. 1-2
Image sources from PA Images
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