It seems that there were a few teams suffering from a Christmas hangover this past Boxing Day. Manchester United and Arsenal both looked like they had overindulged on the eggnog and turkey. Both sides went down to teams you would have fancied them to beat. The Gunners 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Southampton and Leicester's loss to Liverpool have seen things get even tighter at the top end of the log. Whilst at the bottom of the table, three of the Premier League's more established sides are flirting with relegation.
Let us see if we can end the year on a good note with a windfall.
Monday 28 December
We start things off with a London derby between Watford and Spurs. The Hornets continued their scintillating run of form with a 2-2 draw away at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day. The result means that Sanchez Flores' side has not lost a game since going down to Leicester three weeks ago. Tottenham have been on a fantastic run of form themselves. Mauricio Poichhientino's side have won three of their last six matches, whilst drawing the other three fixtures. Harry Kane seems to have found his goal scoring touch again. The Spurs hitman managed to grab a brace in his side's 3-0 victory over Norwich on Boxing Day. Spurs to win at 21/20 looks a solid bet.
Crystal Palace 21/20
High-flying Crystal Palace will take on a struggling Swansea City outfit at Selhurst Park. The Eagles were held to a goalless draw by Bournemouth on Boxing Day while the Swans managed to claim a vital one nil victory over West Brom. The result will have instilled some confidence in a Swans side who have been struggling for results since the departure of Garry Monk. I think that victory may be the catalyst for the Welsh club going on a run of positive results. Back the Swans to claim another vital scalp at 27/10.
West Brom 11/10
They may have gone down to Everton on Boxing Day, but Newcastle still looked a hell of a lot better than they did a few weeks ago. The Magpies look a much tougher opponent away from home than in front of the Geordie faithful. Testament to this theory is their result at Spurs a few weeks ago. Down by a goal with little over 20 minutes to play, the Toon managed to conjure up two goals and win the match. They'll need to show the same type of commitment this week as they are facing a West Brom side who have also seem to have turned a corner. The Baggies have managed some big results in the past month - defeating Man United and drawing with Everton. I fancy the hosts to close the year out with a win.
Marko Anautovic just can't stop scoring at the moment. The Austrian hitman netted his side's second goal in their 2-0 victory over United last time out. The result has seen Stoke move up to 11th spot on the log - only three points behind sixth-placed Manchester United. The next challenge for the Potters will be a trip to Goodison Park to take on ninth place Everton. The Toffees also enjoyed a successful outing on Boxing Day. A late goal from former Manchester United midfielder, Tom Cleverly, saw the Toffees claim all three points against Newcastle. With both sides on a good run of form, it's proving tough to call a winner. For that reason, I'd recommend the 'Both Sides to Score - Yes' market.
Aston Villa 11/4
They may have gone down by three goals to nil against Spurs last time out, but I personally thought Norwich gave a decent account of themselves. Harry Kane's second goal - from the tightest of angles - was a bit fortunate and while Spurs penalty was just, it did seem that Lady Luck wasn't prepared to smile down upon the Canaries. The loss has seen Norwich move closer to the relegation zone - a place that their opponents currently call home. Villa currently lie at the foot of the table and there must be major worries that Birmingham won't have a representative in the EPL next season. England's second city is football made and if both Aston Villa and Birmingham are playing lower division football, there are going to be some unhappy Brummies walking the streets. Villa coach, Remi Garde, will know this better than anyone. He will be praying that his side manage to end the year with a positive result under their belts. I can see a desperate Villa side getting a result here. Back them on the 'Double Chance'at 15/20.
Manchester United 14/10
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Have the Gunners found a new bogey team? Two consecutive Boxing Day fixtures have seen Arsene Wenger's side go down by large scorelines at St Marys. This year, the Gunners were handed a 4-0 humbling by the Saints. The main reason for the result was Arsenal's limp midfield. Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini failed to provide a screen for their back four, which left their defense horribly exposed. Despite the poor performance of the duo, they are likely to retain their starting spots this week. The reason for this is that Arsenal are facing a bit of a midfield injury crisis. Jack Wilshire, Francais Coquelin, and Mikel Arteta remain sidelined and while there's always the option of throwing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin into the midfield - the England international is really struggling for form. Bournemouth are likely to try and pack their midfield in a bid to stop Arsenal dominating the possession stakes. They have the players to implement this tactic but with a limited squad fatigue could prove to be an issue. I can see Bournemouth putting in a real shift during the first 20 minutes of the game but after that, it's going to be all Arsenal. Arsenal to win is my banker for the week.
West Ham 23/10
Southampton will be on cloud nine after smashing the Gunners last time out. The Saints
took the lead through fullback Cuco Martina's wondergoal, while Shane Long (2) and Jose Fonte (1), made it a Boxing Day to remember for the Saint Marys faithful. They now head to London to take on West Ham. The bubble seems to have burst on the Hammers impressive start to the season. The men from East London, have seemed to have caught 'draw fever'. They have drawn their last five games with three of the fixtures ending 0-0. The main reason for their inability to score goals recently has to do with the injury crisis they are facing. Attackers, Dimitri Payet, Victor Moses, Manuel Lazini and Nikica Jelavic are all currently sidelined. With this many forwards on the treatment table, the goal-scoring burden has fallen squarely on the shoulders of one-time Liverpool man, Andy Caroll. The burly striker has endured injuries of his own over the past two years and is yet to recapture that form that made him one of the hottest young prospects in England. Unless Caroll produces a masterstroke, I really can't see where Westham's goals are going to come from. Back Southampton to claim the spoils at 12/10.
Tuesday 29 December
Leicester City 57/20
Manchester City 8/10
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Wednesday 30 December
Our final game of week 19 sees Liverpool travel north to take on a struggling Sunderland outfit. The Reds are coming off a morale-boosting win over Leicester while the Black Cats are coming off the back of an energy-sapping drubbing at the hands of Manchester City. Jurgen Klopp will have been pleased to have seen Christian Benteke get his name on the scoresheet. The big Belgium international is a source for much debate within the Liverpool supporters fraternity. Many Reds fans think the big Belgian doesn't suite Klopp's system, but if he starts banging in the goals then I suspect those dissenting voices will soon die down. Speaking of Benteke, if you enjoy Hollywoodbets Live In Play platform, I'd definitely recommend backing him as an 'Anytime Goalscorer". My other tip for this game is Liverpool to win at 13/20.
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