It’s the most wonderful time of the year if you happen to be a football fan with no fewer than six live televised games taking place on Saturday – a 10 hour broadcasting bonanza.
There’s everything to play for at both ends of the table as Leicester City and Manchester United provide the substantial starter ahead of a festive feast of football action.
The 3pm clashes see Aston Villa looking to maintain their steady start against a Crystal Palace side who shipped seven last time out against Liverpool while Fulham could make it four without a loss if they avoid defeat to Southampton.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will be desperate for the points as his Arsenal side welcome Chelsea to North London looking for their first win in nine games domestically.
Then there’s a choice of offerings for the main course as Manchester City look to keep pace with the early season leaders as they welcome Newcastle to the Etihad.
Meanwhile, Everton will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce with a win over struggling Sheffield United who are without a league win all season.
Leicester v Man Utd 12:30
Leicester go into this festive showdown sitting second in the table having chalked up their sixth away success of the season with an impressive 2-0 win at Tottenham.
However, it’s been a different story at home for Rodgers’ men who have lost four of their seven King Power clashes, and that does not bode well ahead of a Boxing day bout with away day specialists Manchester United.
The Red Devils boast a remarkable 100% Premier League road record – a perfect six wins from six – and they will fancy their chances of making it an eleventh consecutive top-flight road success on Saturday lunchtime.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side savaged Leeds 6-2 at Old Trafford last Sunday before sealing a place in the League Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win away at Everton in midweek and now face a side who have not beaten them in their last 11 Premier League meetings.
LEICESTER WIN: 3.10
MAN UTD WIN: 2.30
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace 15:00
Aston Villa’s fantastic season continued apace last weekend as they made light work of West Brom, winning 3-0.
They are currently nine points off the top of the table but, with two games in hand, could be right in amongst it after the Premier League Christmas and Boxing Day fixtures.
Crystal Palace, however, will still be licking their wounds after their demolition by Liverpool last week, a defeat which saw them ship seven goals in the process.
Roy Hodgson’s men will be keen to put that defeat behind them but are without a win in each of their last three visits to Villa Park, while Dean Smith’s men have lost three of their last four at home.
ASTON VILLA WIN: 2.00
CRYSTAL PALACE WIN: 3.60
Fulham v Southampton 15:00
Fulham will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in the Premier League to four matches when they welcome Southampton to Craven Cottage for Boxing Day’s encounter.
Fulham were cruelly prevented from picking up just their second away win of the campaign against Newcastle last week, though Scott Parker’s men have now gone their last three games unbeaten following draws with Liverpool and Brighton & Hove Albion.
As for Southampton, they go into this game in terrific form on the road, stringing together a six-game unbeaten run away from home in the league since September’s defeat to Crystal Palace – no mean feat considering that Hasenhuttl’s men have travelled to Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Wolves already this season.
In addition, Southampton have come out on top in five of their last six clashes with Fulham in all competitions, although the Cottagers did win this fixture 3-2 back in the 2018-19 Premier League season.
FULHAM WIN: 3.35
SOUTHAMPTON WIN: 2.30
Arsenal v Chelsea 17:30
It’s now eight domestic games without a win for Mikel Arteta and his confidence-drained side who face the prospect of being dragged into a relegation scrap if their alarming slump continues.
Fresh from a 4-1 home humbling in the EFL Cup, the Gunners now face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea knowing that the board’s faith in their manager will be put to the test if they crash to another defeat.
Their win over West Ham leaves Chelsea just six points behind leaders Liverpool and the Blues will be desperate to keep their title bid on track by inflicting more pain on their London rivals.
The Blues have won three of the last four meetings between these two, including last season’s FA Cup final, though their 2-1 win at the Emirates at the Premier League last season was their first success at Arsenal’s home since 2016.
ARSENAL WIN: 4.15
CHELSEA WIN: 1.95
Man City v Newcastle 20:00
In the corresponding fixture last season, Manchester City thrashed Newcastle 5-0 and the Toon Army will be fearing another drubbing at the hands of a side who appear to be on the brink of clicking into gear.
Manchester City have found Newcastle a tough nut to crack at St James’ Park, winning just once in their last three visits. But it has been a different story at the Etihad where they have won the last 11 meetings in the league.
Steve Bruce is under pressure following the Magpies’ EFL Cup exit to Brentford in midweek so the last thing he needs is a Boxing Day trip to the Etihad to face big hitters Manchester City.
That said, his side have only tasted defeat once in their last four Premier League outings – including wins over Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion – but the Magpies had to rely on a controversial Callum Wilson penalty to earn them a late draw against a 10-man Fulham last weekend.
MAN CITY WIN: 1.11
NEWCASTLE WIN: 23.00
Sheff Utd v Everton 20:00
Following a rough patch of form, Everton are back in business after taking 10 points from a possible 12 in their last four league matches.
The run started with a 1-1 draw against Burnley, before they then beat Chelsea and Leicester 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.
Sheffield United, on the other hand, The have lost all but two of their 14 league matches, with the other two being draws, leaving them rock bottom of the table, having lost eight consecutive matches before facing Brighton last weekend.
If that wasn’t bad enough for the Blades, have lost 7 of their last 8 home matches and when the two last met at Bramall Lane back in July it was the Blues who came away with a 1-0 victory.
SHEFF UTD WIN: 4.10
EVERTON WIN: 1.95
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