The Premier League will not be decided over the next few weeks but the festive period is always an important, and exciting, time of the season. Footyblog.net looks ahead to the next few weeks of matches.
The pick of the Boxing Day fixtures in the late kick off between Manchester City and the Christmas table toppers, Liverpool. City, with their 100% home record still intact, know that a win would see them leapfrog their opponents and could see them move to the top, if Arsenal slip up.
City have scored an incredible 35 goals at The Etihad so far this season, including four against Manchester United, six against Arsenal and Spurs and seven against Norwich but with an in form Luis Suarez in their side, Liverpool will always have a chance. Suarez has scored 19 Premier League goals in just 12 matches, an incredible feat if he can inspire them to a win, Liverpool could create breathing space at the top of the table.
Elsewhere, Manchester United visit Hull, whose home form remains very good for a newly promoted side, having won four, drawn three and only lost one of their nine home games, including a 3-1 win over Liverpool. They have also conceded just three goals at home all season, a record better than Manchester City and one of the best records in Europe.
For all their well documented troubles this season, United’s away form has been decent, winning half of their eight away matches, only losing two, including recent away wins against Aston Villa in the Premier League and Stoke in the Capital One Cup.
Full Boxing Day fixture list
Hull v Man Utd 12:45
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace 15:00
Cardiff v Southampton 15:00
Chelsea v Swansea 15:00
Everton v Sunderland 15:00
Newcastle v Stoke 15:00
Norwich v Fulham 15:00
Tottenham v West Brom 15:00
West Ham v Arsenal 15:00
Man City v Liverpool 17:30
On the following Sunday, Liverpool face another tough away trip, this time to Chelsea, who are also unbeaten at home in the Premier League so far this season in what is the best looking fixture. Before the start of the festive period, Chelsea find themselves in fourth, but only two points behind Liverpool, a measure of just how close the Premier League is.
Liverpool have only won three of their eight away games in the Premier League this season and will be hoping that they can pick up another win against Chelsea, a team they can consider rivals for the Premier League title. As mentioned, Chelsea haven’t lost a home game all season and have never lost a Premier League home game under Jose Mourinho so it will be tough for Liverpool.
On the same day, Newcastle host Arsenal in another game featuring two of the top six sides. Arsenal lost their top spot at the weekend following their 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the Emirates but will hope to get it back on Boxing Day as Liverpool and Manchester City meet, meaning that if Liverpool drop points and Arsenal can beat London rivals West Ham, they will move back to the top.
Arsenal have the second most impressive away record in the Premier League this season, winning five of their eight away games, but come up against a Newcastle side in good form. Alan Pardew’s men have won six of their last eight games, only losing one, a run that has moved them to within six points of the top of the Premier League at Christmas. It promises to be a tight game.
Full list of fixtures for December 28th/29th
West Ham v West Brom 12:45
Aston Villa v Swansea 15:00
Hull v Fulham 15:00
Man City v Crystal Palace 15:00
Norwich v Man Utd 15:00
Cardiff v Sunderland 17:30
Everton v Southampton 13:30
Newcastle v Arsenal 13:30
Chelsea v Liverpool 16:00
Tottenham v Stoke 16:00
On New Years day, there is another full list of Premier League fixtures. The highlight has to be at Old Trafford where Manchester United host Spurs. Both teams have respectively struggled this season and find themselves in 7th (Spurs) and 8th (United), below where they would expect to be. Both need good festive periods to try and gain contact with the race for the top four.
David Moyes’ Manchester United have had their well documented problems at Old Trafford this season, losing three times, to West Brom, Everton and Newcastle, the latter two in recent weeks. Spurs have just appointed Tim Sherwood as their full time manager until the end of next season after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas a few weeks back. They secured an impressive 3-2 win away at Southampton last time out and their away form has been a highlight of what has so far been a poor season. With six wins from nine, they are the Premier League’s best travellers so Manchester United will have to be careful.
Elsewhere, Southampton host Chelsea as they look to rediscover their early season form. Having spent a lot of the early season in the top four or five, a host of recent defeats, including to Aston Villa and Spurs at home has seen them drop to ninth, ten points off the top four. However, those two home defeats are their only reversals at St Mary’s this season, having won four and drawn three of their nine matches there.
Chelsea are in the top four as we speak, but will know a trip to Southampton will be tough. Chelsea’s away form has been very inconsistent this season, winning three, drawing three and losing three of their nine away matches, including a 0-0 draw away at Arsenal last time out.
Full list of New Year’s day fixture list
Swansea v Man City 12:45
Arsenal v Cardiff 15:00
Crystal Palace v Norwich 15:00
Fulham v West Ham 15:00
Liverpool v Hull 15:00
Southampton v Chelsea 15:00
Stoke v Everton 15:00
Sunderland v Aston Villa 15:00
West Brom v Newcastle 15:00
Man Utd v Tottenham 17:30