Festive Football Predictions
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and for football fans it’s that little bit better with four rounds of matches to entertain us over Christmas and New year. The festive schedule is busy and we might hear some complaints from managers, but as a fan we couldn’t ask for more!
Leicester have got the toughest schedule, with four games in the space of less than 9 days. But of the leading teams it Man United who have the most congested Christmas fixture list. Mourinho might have a few things to say about that as he has some catching up to do with their Manchester rivals sitting 11 points clear at the top of the tree. Man City have an extra 30 hours between their first and last fixture compared to United, but both will have their strength in depth tested.
City have already broken many records this season, but there’s no sign of them slowing down with another rampant performance against Spurs at the weekend. They face Bournemouth, Newcastle, Palace and Watford. Roy Hodgson’s side have shown a resurgence lately and look like they might have turned their season around, but few will fancy them to topple the league-leaders.
As for Newcastle, Bournemouth and Watford, none have won any of their previous 5 games. You wouldn’t be surprised if Man City won all four games by 3+ goal margins, and they surely have the squad and quality needed to put in the great performances that are needed.
United have got to face Leicester, Burnley, Southampton and Everton over 9 days, and a few of those results could go either way. Burnley have been a bogey team this season and are currently sat above Spurs in the table. Sean Dyche and the Clarets are having an amazing season so far! They’re a tough team to beat, and while you’d expect United to beat Southampton at home, Leicester and Everton are both in fine form, each winning four of their last five games.
Rooney would love a goal at Old Trafford, even if he wouldn’t celebrate it, and everyone knows Big Sam loves to cause an upset. Keeping a team fit to play in the Premier League gets you instant performances and dedication so you can plan to get more results from there.
If Mourinho gets his tactics right it could be a clean sweep for United, but he always keeps his games tight, and if a few players need resting they might not get the results they need. When his teams are winning he likes to stick with his starting 11. But if he’s not careful a few players could burn out or get injured.
Chelsea have got Everton, Brighton, Stoke and Arsenal. Again, Big Sam will be looking to continue Everton’s form and it could be a tough game at Goodison Park like it always has been, but you’d fancy the blues’ chances against Stoke and Brighton. Arsenal is the big game that everyone will have their eyes on.
It finished 0-0 in September but hopefully there’ll be plenty of goals at the Emirates. Arsenal have only beaten Chelsea once in the Premier League since 2011 (W7 D4 L1) and Conte will looking to make up some ground on the Manchester clubs.
Arsenal’s other fixtures are Liverpool, Palace and West Brom. The Baggies have been struggling lately and Wenger will look to get a confidence boost there ahead of the Chelsea game. The trip to Selhurst Park might not be so straightforward but most people would back the Gunners to take all three points there.
But it’s the Liverpool game that will also be interesting. If Wenger takes all 12 points from the four games he’d be extremely happy, but it would be a shock to most fans.
Liverpool are either quite poor or very good and score goals for fun. There seems to be no in-between and Klopp will of course be hoping for the latter over the next couple of weeks. After Arsenal they face Swansea, Leicester and Burnley. As with United, Leicester and Burnley could both be tough matches, but if the Reds are at their best you’d expect them to take at least 7 points from those three fixtures because there’s not a lot that can stop them when they’re on form.
One thing I know for sure is that after December I don’t see Man City slowing down and losing their comfort at the top of the table, with the way they are bossing the league at the moment. But the rest will be battling for second spot as Man United look far from comfortable.