It’s second against third in the Premier League this weekend as Man City and Leicester City clash at the Etihad.
And that’s not the only festive treat this week as Gameweek 18 also delivers a Jose Mourinho-themed London derby as Tottenham Hotspur take on Chelsea.
Which sides will get an early Christmas present by claiming all three points this weekend?
Here’s our look over at Gameweek 18 and all the latest betting on the Premier League as the festive season approaches.
Man City v Leicester & The Rest of Gameweek 18 Previewed
All 3pm kick-off unless stated
EVERTON VS ARSENAL, 12:30
The lowdown: Events off the pitch have dominated the headlines heading into this game. Much of the spotlight is likely to be on the respective dugouts with Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta primed to take the reins at these two traditional Premier League stalwarts. The Toffees have shown the grit and resilience typical of caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson in recent weeks and could exploit Arsenal’s soft underbelly. The home side took the honours last season at Goodison Park with a 1-0 win.
Verdict: Toffees to take it. 1-0
Best Bet: Everton to win by one goal at 33/10.
BOURNEMOUTH VS BURNLEY
The lowdown: Both sides managed to bring their recent ruts to an end last time out and will be out to make it back-to-back wins heading into the festive period. Eddie Howe’s side will be on their guard as the Clarets have won on both of their last two trips to the Vitality. This fixture often sees the goals shared out with both sides scoring in seven of their last eight encounters.
Verdict: Early Christmas cheer for the Cherries. 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score and Bournemouth to win at 69/20.
ASTON VILLA VS SOUTHAMPTON
The lowdown: Aston Villa will be looking to put daylight between themselves and Saints as they welcome Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side to the West Midlands. Dean Smith’s side enjoyed a stroll on the park on Tuesday night as they cruised to a 5-0 win over an inexperienced Liverpool side to reach the EFL Cup semi-finals. Smith will be hoping his team can use that as a spur to turn around a run of three consecutive league defeats. Southampton stumbled yet again last week with a 1-0 reverse at home to West Ham.
Verdict: Villa to make home advantage count. 1-0
Best Bet: Under 1.5 goals at 73/20.
BRIGHTON VS SHEFFIELD UTD
The lowdown: Two teams winning plaudits for their enterprising styles meet at the Amex looking to pull further clear of relegation danger. The Seagulls will be keen to get back to winning ways on home soil after taking only one point from their last two home games. The Blades boast the best away form of any club outside of the Top Four with 12 points from eight games. This will be the first meeting between the pair since 2006.
Verdict: All square at the Amex. 1-1
Best Bet: Sheffield Utd to open the scoring at 73/50.
NEWCASTLE UTD VS CRYSTAL PALACE
The lowdown: Newcastle will be looking to get back to winning ways quickly against Crystal Palace after their three-game unbeaten run came to an end against Burnley. They take on a Palace side that underperformed badly against local rivals Brighton last Monday night, albeit the Eagles rescued a draw courtesy of their talisman Wilfried Zaha. The Magpies are looking for a first win in four attempts against Roy Hodgson’s side.
Verdict: Palace to be clinical on the counter. 1-2
Best Bet: Crystal Palace to win from behind at 15/1.
NORWICH CITY VS WOLVES
The lowdown: The Canaries’ survival hopes received a real shot in the arm last week as they left the King Power with a credible point against high-flying Leicester. Form at Carrow Road remains a real concern, however, with no home win since September. Wolves fell to a frustrating 2-1 home defeat to Spurs last time out and will be looking to improve on a middling away record that boasts only two league wins on the road. The away side took the spoils in their last meeting in East Anglia with a professional 2-0 victory.
Verdict: Canaries to show some fight. 1-1
Best Bet: The score draw at 73/20.
MAN CITY VS LEICESTER CITY, 17:30
The lowdown: Expect an entertaining evening at the Etihad as City and Leicester both look for the three points needed to narrow the gap on leaders Liverpool. An inspired display from Kevin De Bruyne helped City to a convincing 3-0 win away at Arsenal last time out, while Leicester showed a small chink in their armour as they fluffed their lines at home to Norwich. This game famously produced one of the Premier League’s all-time great moments last season as Vincent Kompany’s second-half thunderbolt set City on their way to back-to-back titles.
Verdict: City to flush out the Foxes. 2-1
Best Bet: Over 1.5 goals for Man City in the first half at 51/25.
WATFORD VS MAN UTD, 14:00
The lowdown: It won’t phase him, but Nigel Pearson has been handed the ultimate nightmare before Christmas at Vicarage Road as he looks to drag Watford back into the mix for survival with the club currently cut adrift. A win in his first home game in charge would be a huge fillip as the Hornets look to close up a six point gap to 17th. Man Utd could be in unforgiving mood having won all five of their last meetings with the relegation strugglers.
Verdict: Growing pains for Pearson. 1-2
Best Bet: Draw in first half and Man Utd to win at full time at 81/20.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS CHELSEA, 16:30
The lowdown: A London derby with added spice rounds off the weekend as Jose Mourinho comes up against Chelsea for the first time as Tottenham manager. He’ll also be facing his former Blues lynchpin Frank Lampard as the two meet as Premier League managers for the first time. The result has tended to flip between the two sides over the last few Premier League seasons, with three wins apiece each in their last six meetings.
Verdict: Master to beat the apprentice. 2-1
Best Bet: 1-1 draw at half-time at 117/20.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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