Saturday 12/26/15 (4:45 AM PT)
Stoke vs. Manchester United (4)
To start off Boxing Day, we have what should be a fascinating contest at the Britannia with out-of-form Manchester United visiting Stoke. The Red Devils have lost two in a row, and they drew their two previous games. Pressure is mounting on Louis van Gaal, and a loss to the Potters might signal the end for the Dutch manager. Stoke are only six points out of fourth place, and their recent win over Manchester City makes the Potters a threat against anyone. This could be a very interesting affair between two solid teams.
(7:00 AM PT)
Aston Villa vs. West Ham (1)
Bournemouth vs. Crystal Palace (2)
These teams are both in fantastic form at the moment, each with three wins and one draw in the last four contests. Bournemouth have been terrific of late in climbing to 14th in the table, and they’ll feel confident of making it four wins in a row at home, but Palace are in better form than most of the teams the Cherries have faced during their solid run. The Eagles have shot all the way up to sixth in the table, and they’ll also have the confidence that the run can continue against a newly promoted squad. This could end up being a very compelling contest.
Chelsea vs. Watford (3)
The Blues were just about back to their old selves last weekend in a win over Sunderland, but this contest against Watford will be a different animal. The Hornets have been the league’s hottest team of late, with four consecutive wins taking them all the way up to seventh. With their attacking duo of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo, Watford will feel confident against anyone, and that includes a Chelsea side that’s still yet to find itself this season. Most will still expect the Blues to take all three points, especially at home, but this game has the potential for another bad surprise for the hosts.
Liverpool vs. Leicester (4)
There's not really much to say about the Foxes besides they are on absolute fire, having not lost in the BPL since September 26 and only tying twice during their fantastic run of form. Conversely, a season of turmoil has struck Liverpool, and while Jurgen Klopp still needs time to adjust the side to his play style, the German needs to start producing some quality results or Liverpool will be in serious danger of dropping out of the race for Europe. The Reds do possess heaps of talent in their squad, so don’t be
Manchester City vs. Sunderland (1)
This should be a simple win for Man City. The hosts haven’t been fantastic recently, with three losses in their last five games, but they’re 7-2 at home and shouldn’t have too many problems getting win number eight at the Etihad. Sam Allardyce will have his squad defending for their lives in Manchester, but keeping a City side that’s tallied 25 goals at home off the scoreboard will be a tough task. With other games available that should provide more drama, the only reason to watch this would be to see City try to score as many goals as they can.
Swansea vs. West Brom (1)
Neither of these sides has been victorious in the BPL since October 24, and both badly need a win to revive their sinking seasons. Swansea have been miserable since racking up eight points from their first four fixtures, having won just once, against lowly Aston Villa, since. West Brom have also been struggling for the majority of the season, and despite sitting in 13th, they are just five points above the relegation zone. The game looks to be a real snoozer because neither side has a potent offense and both have decent backlines, so it should be a low scoring, defensive battle in Wales.
Tottenham vs. Norwich (3)
Despite a rough start to the season, Norwich seem to be turning the corner, having fought hard for ties against Everton and Arsenal, as well as defeating Manchester United, all within their last four fixtures. Tottenham have been coming into form as well, but have certainly been hurt by their plethora of draws this year, as they lead the league in that column with eight. A month ago, Spurs would have been major favorites, and they still are tipped to get the points, but look for Norwich to continue their gritty play and potentially grind out a point on Boxing Day.
(9:30 AM PT)
Newcastle vs. Everton (3)
Despite Everton being seven places higher in the table, the pair of sides are only separated by six points, proving how much of a gridlock the bottom half is. Furthermore, Newcastle are in significantly better form, having won twice and drawn once in
(11:45 AM PT)
Southampton vs. Arsenal (2)
Even with Leicester’s incredible run of form, Arsenal seem to be playing the best football in the league right now. The Gunners are coming off of a massive 2-1 win over Manchester City and look to have overtaken the Citizens as the current favorites to win the title (sorry Leicester). During October, it looked as if the Saints had shrugged off their early season woes and finally come into form, but it’s been back to mediocrity for Southampton as they’ve slipped down the table since. The fixture is very attractive because of its kickoff time, but bet on Arsenal to dominate the 90.
Bonus European Game of the Week: Hull vs. Burnley, Saturday 12/26/15, 7:00 AM PT
There aren’t any European games of note this weekend, but there’s a big one taking place in England’s Championship. Two of the sides relegated from the Premier League last season do battle trying to get back into the automatic promotion places. Hull are just three points off second-place Derby County and have a superior goal difference to their visitors Saturday, so they’ll be confident of taking all three points at home against Burnley, who are three points behind Hull in fifth place. If the season were to end today, these teams would battle in the promotion semifinal round, and the familiarity between the teams makes it all the more interesting.