New Leaders, A Boxing Day Battering And 10 Things To Look Out For In The Premier League This Weekend


1 Stoke v Man United: Jose Getting Cozy At Old Trafford

The vultures are circling at Old Trafford, or so it seems. The imposing shadow of Jose Mourinho seems to be luring over Louis van Gaal and the Dutchman has shown he is starting to crack, walking out of press conferences and demanding apologies from the media.

With his team without a win in six and this supposedly the ex-Barcelona manager’s last job in football, failure to win here could lead to him, or even the Red Devils’ board, considering whether it is all really worth it.

Stoke to win 3.20

 

2 Aston Villa v West Ham: No Christmas Cheer In The Midlands

There’s a claret and blue derby to be had this Boxing Day and it is one that should ensure that Aston Villa fans really feel that hangover from the previous day’s festivities.

The hosts haven’t won on their own patch in the Premier League this term and worse still have scored just five times in front of their own supporters in 2015/16. West Ham should have players returning in attacking areas and have kept successive clean sheets on their travels.

West Ham to win without conceding 4.50

 

3 Bournemouth v Crystal Palace: Pardew To Pop Cherries

It’s safe to say that Bournemouth are experiencing the greatest period I their history. Not so long ago they were strutting their stuff in the bottom tier and now they are on a three-match winning streak in the top-flight which has seen them slay Manchester United and Chelsea.

However, only one side is in better form than Crystal Palace over the past six games and Pardew’s pacey outfit will be ready for the Bournemouth onslaught. The Londoners are perfectly built for away jaunts and have taken seven points from three trips to Liverpool, Everton and Stoke in recent weeks.

Crystal Palace to win 2.95

 

4 Chelsea v Watford: Guus To Prove Change Can Be A Good Thing, Even at Christmas

Whatever your opinion on the Jose Mourinho fiasco, it was clear something had to change at Stamford Bridge; disconnect between the manager and the players had the club in a downward spiral. The owner has made that change and now the players must win back the supporters that remain loyal to the Portuguese.

Watford’s dynamic Ighalo/Deeney Partnership is sure to cause problems but the presence of someone other than Mourinho in the dugout seemed to inspire a freedom in the Blues players last time out. Expect lots of pundits questioning whether these are the same players of just a few weeks ago.

Chelsea to win -1 2.12

 

5 Liverpool v Leicester: Festive Fayre Galore On Merseyside

These are two sides who pride themselves on their ability to not let the post-Christmas blues affect them at every opportunity. Liverpool are unbeaten on Boxing Day at Anfield in the Premier League era, while Leicester have lost just one of their previous 10 matches on this day in the top-flight.

Keeping Mahrez and Vardy quiet is about as easy as having enough chairs round the table for Christmas dinner and the Reds have leaked seven goals in their last three matches. There will be a reaction from Klopp’s men, but whether it will be enough is a different story.

2-2 and Vardy to score 23.00

 

6 Manchester City v Sunderland: Boxing Day Drubbing At The Etihad

Just when you thought Sam Allardyce was making Sunderland hard to beat, they go and lose three in a row and find themselves five points adrift of safety. It’s not like they need a trip to the Etihad then, is it?

Man City have scored 13 goals against the Black Cats I their last four meetings and have scored three or more in eight of their preceding 14 contests with the north-east club.

Man City to score over 3.5 goals 3.00

 

7 Swansea v West Brom: Labour Of Love At The Liberty

It is 146 miles from the Hawthorns to the Liberty. That’s around two and a half hours travelling and to be quiet frank you would forgive most Baggies supporters if they opted to sit at home and mop up the leftover gravy with a turkey sandwich rather than head to this one.

Don’t get me wrong, Tony Pulis is doing his job superbly, and Albion’s three away successes are testament to that, but they have scored just six times on their travels so far. Swansea are on a dire run and have failed to notch in four of five in South Wales. Gary and the boys can pencil this in for the show closer.

Under 1.5 goals 2.75

 

8 Tottenham v Norwich: Dembele Defiance To Disprove Spurs Cliche

Spurs went all Spursy in their last home encounter, being out fought and deservedly beaten by a resurgent Newcastle outfit. They now need to prove that was just a blip. Beating Saints last week was a good start but a win at the Lane would patch up the wounds all the more.

Norwich won at Old Trafford last time out but that doesn’t seem that great an achievement at the moment. Tottenham will harry, hustle and be aggressive, everything United aren’t and Mousa Dembele will be at the forefront of that. He’s a player reborn this year and the Canaries midfield will be glad to see the back of him.

Dembele to score 4.30

 

9 Newcastle v Everton: Belgian Bulldozer Rolling In to Toon

Lukaku will score, again. Just back it.

Lukaku to score 2.17

 

10 Southampton v Arsenal: Gunners Going Top

Anyone else bored of Mesut Ozil getting assists yet? David Moyes probably is but who cares? Watching him play is majestic. The German still flits in and out of games but when he’s in, boy is he in. It’s 15 assists in 17 games so far and a Southampton team who have lost four of their previous five should be worried.

The Gunners haven’t won at St Mary’s since Saints returned to the big time but they look a little more ruthless this term and will be buoyed after beating Man City on Monday. The summit is in their sights, the real test comes when they get there.

Arsenal to win 2.08