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Premier League Previews: Boxing Day Games

Premier League Previews: Boxing Day games

The Premier League serves up a monumental feast of Boxing Day this action, with nine solid hours of live top flight action for football fans to enjoy.

We run through each of Saturday’s games, starting with Manchester United’s trip to Leicester City.

12:30    Leicester City v Manchester United

The Premier League’s best two travelling teams come to blows at the King Power Stadium this Saturday, in the first of six Boxing Day Premier League games.

With a combined 12 wins in 13 away games, both Leicester and Manchester United have fared far better on their travels than on their own turf this season. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side get the opportunity to extend their perfect away record to seven games against the Foxes this weekend.

Manchester United have not been short of critics this season – most notably for their UEFA Champions League group stage elimination. However, the Red Devils are currently sat third in the Premier League and will leapfrog their opponents Leicester City with another away win.

Three points at the King Power Stadium will put United just two points behind league leaders Liverpool.

Leicester City have lost more league games than they have won at home this season, but their impressive win at Spurs last time out will have breathed confidence into Brendan Rodgers’ side.

Manchester United have been dominant over Leicester in recent times, winning the last four Premier League games between these two sides. The Foxes have only won one of their last 22 top flight games against United.

Manchester United have won 21 previous Premier League games on Boxing Day, a 81% win rate on December 26, and given that Leicester have lost more games (19) and conceded more goals (60) against Manchester United in the Premier League than against any other side, we expect that run to continue.

15:00    Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace will be offered a chance to get their Premier League season back on track at Villa Park this weekend. The Eagles were completely blown apart by Liverpool in a 7-0 home defeat last time out, whereas Aston Villa looked good value for a 3-0 win over West Midlands rivals West Brom.

The Eagles have not won away at Villa since 2013, and Dean Smith’s side were comfortable winners in last season’s corresponding fixture.

However, Roy Hodgson’s side arguably put in their performance of the season just down the road from Villa Park recently. Crystal Palace’s 5-1 win at The Hawthorns was former Baggies Manager Slaven Bilic’s last home match with the club. If Palace can find a similar vein of form at Villa Park on Boxing Day, we could be in for a Christmas cracker.

Aston Villa could welcome Ross Barkley and Ezri Konsa back into their starting eleven for this weekend’s game, but Wesley and Trezeguet look certain to miss out.

Christian Benteke returns from a ban for Palace, who should also see James Tomkins return to fitness.

15:00    Fulham v Southampton

With three consecutive Premier League stalemates, Fulham are fast becoming the Premier League’s draw specialists – however Whites boss Scott Parker will be keen to see his side start winning games to bolster their chance of top flight survival.

Southampton head to Craven Cottage this weekend, and with seven wins in their last 12 Premier League games, Saints are fast becoming this season’s surprise package.

The South Coast side’s manager Ralph Hassenhuttl will have been delighted with his side’s progress this season, but a lack of clean sheets will be a frustration for the Austrian coach.

BTTS has come in for each of the Saints’ last five away games in the Premier League, and also landed in three of Fulham’s last five home games.

Joachim Anderson misses out for Fulham due to suspension. Kenny Tete, Terrence Kongolo and Ivan Cavaleiro are all injured for the hosts, too.

Danny Ings is rated as doubtful for Southampton, whilst the suspended Oriol Romeu will be a big blow to Southampton too.

17:30    Arsenal v Chelsea

Arsenal’s sorry season reached new depths when they were outclassed in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night. Whilst Manchester City left the Emirates Stadium with a 4-1 win and a place in the semi-finals, they also left huge questions hanging over their former number two, and current Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

Chelsea head to north London for their second London derby in the space of a week. Monday night’s 3-0 win over West Ham United ended a run of consecutive defeats in the Premier League for Frank Lampard’s side, even if the scoreline was somewhat flattering on the Blues.

It’s now a run of eight domestic games without a win for Arsenal, who are now just four points above the Premier League’s relegation zone.

Whilst Arteta’s stock is currently at its lowest value during his time as Arsenal boss, it arguably reached its peak when the Gunners got the better of Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup final – the last competitive game between these two sides.

However, when it comes to the Premier League it’s the West London side who are unbeaten in the last three meetings between the sides, winning the previous two league meetings.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabrielle Martinelli both looking doubtful for the Gunners, it could well be another painful 90 minutes for Arsenal fans to endure this weekend.

20:00    Manchester City v Newcastle United

Christmas really hasn’t been kind to Newcastle manager Steve Bruce. With Tuesday night’s elimination from the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, at the hands of Championship side Brentford, the Magpies boss has come under fire.

To compile his misery, Bruce faces a Boxing Day trip to the Etihad Stadium this weekend.

Whilst Newcastle stuttered to defeat at Brentford’s new stadium during the week, Manchester City breezed past Arsenal in the capital with a comprehensive 4-1 win at the Emirates.

Manchester City have won each of their last eleven Premier League home games against Newcastle, most recently last season’s 5-0 drubbing.

20:00    Sheffield United v Everton

Everton head to Bramall Lane hunting a fourth consecutive Premier League win, with Sheffield United still searching for their first league win of the season.

Having secured just two of the 42 Premier League points available to them this season, Sheffield United will need a miraculous recovery to prolong their status as a top flight club.

On a more positive note, a run of three Premier League wins have filled Everton fans with optimism for 2021. The Toffees are currently fourth in the Premier League, just five points behind neighbours Liverpool, who lead the standings at Christmas.

Everton are unbeaten in their last three Premier League trips to Sheffield United, winning last season’s game at Bramall Lane thanks to a Richarlison goal.

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