Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all! I hope Santa was good to you and brought you lots of goodies and presents. But if not, do not worry, as there are plenty of EPL treats on the way.
Tomorrow teams up and down England will play the traditional Boxing Day game. For those that do not know, Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and trades people would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers in the UK. However, today is known more for its soccer games and great deal sales.
This year’s EPL Boxing Day’s treats include Chelsea v West Ham, Manchester United v Newcastle, Arsenal v QPR and much more. So get comfy, put on those Christmas slippers and grab some of warm cocoa, as we at GotSoccer take you trough the predictions and previews for Boxing Day.
|Chelsea v West Ham||3-0|
|Burnley v Liverpool||1-1|
|Crystal Palace v Southampton||0-1|
|Everton v Stoke||2-1|
|Leicester v Tottenham||1-2|
|Man Utd v Newcastle||3-1|
|Sunderland v Hull||2-0|
|Swansea v Aston Villa||2-0|
|West Brom v Man City||0-3|
|Arsenal v QPR||3-1|
Chelsea v West Ham
The Boxing day festivities kick-off with a London derby as west Londoners Chelsea take on eastenders West Ham.
Chelsea maintained their three-point lead at the top of the EPL with a good 2-0 win away to stoke. Goals from captain John Terry and midfielder Cesc Fabregas were enough to see the Londoners past a much-improved Stoke side and stay top of the EPL in time for Santa’s visit.
East Londoners West Ham continued their excellent form with a good 2-0 home win over newly promoted Leicester City. The win was the Hammers’ fourth in their last five EPL games and guaranteed them a place in the top four on Christmas day for first time since 1985.
Chelsea look set to be without playmaker Eden Hazard after the Belgian picked up an ankle injury against Stoke, with Oscar likely to take his place.
West Ham midfielder Mark Nobel returns from an Achilles problem, but defender James Tomkins is a doubt with a hamstring problem.
West Ham have not won at Stamford Bridge since a Paolo Di Canio brace saw them beat the Blues 3-2 back in 2002. However, the Hammers are playing their best soccer in years and will fancy their chances of springing an upset. Nevertheless, Chelsea just seem to be able to grind out results at the moment and I think they will have just a bit too much quality for the Hammers.
Burnley v Liverpool
Both these sides are struggling for results at the moment and will hope Santa can help them turn things around with a victory on Boxing Day.
Burnley lost 2-1 away to Tottenham in their last outing to remain in the relegation zone. However, the Clarets put up a good fight and have been a tad unlucky in their last few games.
Liverpool snatched a last-gasp goal against Arsenal in their last game to earn a draw. The Reds played well and with better finishing would have easily won the game. But Liverpool have lacked a threat up top all season with the presence of Suarez and Sturridge, and as long as they continue to defend so poorly they will struggle.
Burnley striker Sam Vokes looks likely to make his first start since suffering an ACL injury.
Midfielder Matt Taylor could also be involved following an Achilles problem, but Michael Duff and Stephen Ward are definitely out.
Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli returns from suspension, but fellow forward Fabio Borini misses out through suspension, while Joe Allen is out injured.
Liverpool won both of the previous EPL meetings 4-0 during the 2009-2010 season. However, Burnley have won 18 of their home meeting with the Reds (D9 L11), and with Liverpool struggling both in defense and in attack I think the Clarets with give them a good game.
Man Utd v Newcastle
Manchester United’s six game winning streak came to an end with a 1-1 draw away to Aston Villa. The Red Devils came from behind and thoroughly dominated possession, however, they lacked that spark of creativity and in the end could actually have lost the game.
Newcastle lost the Wear-Tyne derby to Sunderland at the weekend and are now without a win in their last three games. The Magpies are once again having a rollercoaster of a season, but have shown they are a good side that can give anyone a game.
Manchester United’s injury crisis continues with Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind all still injured and Marouane Fellaini out with an illness. However, defender Chris Smalling has an outside chance of playing.
Newcastle are without midfielder Cheick Tiote who is suspended, however Steven Taylor should return from a facial injury picked up against Sunderland.
Newcastle had a terrible record at Old Traffrod, but turned things around last season with a win that was their first since 1972. United are unbeaten in their last seven games, but still look extremely vulnerable at the back. However, they do have a vast array of talent in attacking areas and that is why I’ll back them to beat Newcastle.
West Brom v Man City
West Brom lost 3-2 to QPR to continue their miserable recent form. The Baggies were 2-0 up at QPR, but still managed to lose and look like they could be in freefall—West Brom are without a win in their last seven games.
Champions Man City maintain they pursuit of EPL leaders Chelsea with a good 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. The Champions played without a recognized striker, but still managed to score three times thanks to two goals from David Silva and a single goal from Yaya Toure.
West Brom welcome back captain Chris Brunt from injury, but Victor Anichebe and Boaz Myhill look likely to miss out.
Man City will continue to play without a recognized striker with Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic all out injured.
Captain Vincent Kompany is also out injured, but Gael Clichy should return from a foot injury.
West Brom have not beaten City since winning at The Hawthorns in December 2008, and providing a Christmas miracle I can’t see them getting anything against City on boxing day.
Arsenal v QPR
Arsenal’s five game winning streak came to an end with a 2-2 draw away to Liverpool. The Gunners might feel hard done by, as they conceded in the seventh-minute of stoppage time, but they didn’t play well and on another day could have easily lost the game.
QPR’s fine home form continued with a 3-2 win over West Brom—all of QPR’s points this season have come at Loftus road. The Hoops were 2-0 goals down after only ten minutes and looked dead and buried, but a hat-trick from Charlie Austin helped them to victory and it is surely only a matter of time before the forward is called up for England.
Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny and Aaron Ramsey won’t be fit for the QPR game, but could be fit for the rest of the festive games. However, midfielder Tomas Rosicky and keeper David Ospina are available again after overcoming thigh problems.
QPR are assessing a number of players ahead of the trip to Arsenal, but Left-back Yun Suk-Young is definitely out with an ankle injury.
QPR are in decent from picking up nine-points from a possible 15 and currently have the EPL’s in-form striker in Charlie Austin. However, the Hoops have lost their last four games against Arsenal and have failed to pick up a single point away from home this season, and that’s why I’ll go for a comfortable Arsenal win.