After six of the ten games on Matchday 18 in the Premier League were postponed due to Covid-19 outbreaks at a number of clubs, the EPL teams held an emergency meeting on Monday to decide what to do over the busy festive period.
A number of high-profile managers had called for a break, or at least the postponement of one set of games to allow them to deal with the outbreak. The general feeling was that the Premier League board would cancel at least one set of festive fixtures or maybe postpone them for a two-week period.
In the end, in a somewhat surprising decision, the Premier League decided to carry on with the fixture list as planned and added that provided teams could field 13 fit players, including one goalkeeper, that games should go ahead.
With clearer (albeit in my opinion, ludicrous) guidance in place, it now does look like the to sets of games from the 26th to the 30th December will go ahead, much to the chagrin of some teams and managers.
With that in mind, we are going to bring you our festive tips for the games over Boxing Day and the following day this weekend, although how many of them actually take place remains to be seen. As always, bet365 Sport will be the odds we use for this offer.
However, if you want to place bets on these games from the United States, then BetRivers Sportsbook offers a good range of soccer bets throughout the year.
Premier League Fixtures (26th & 27th December)
Sunday 26th December (Kick off 3pm unless stated)
Liverpool v Leeds United (12.30pm)
Leeds are very much under the cosh having been thumped by Manchester City and Arsenal in recent games and they now travel to Anfield probably wondering what is in store. Liverpool need to win after their draw with Spurs last week and I think they will, for me it is a question of how many the Reds will score and my gut feeling is that it will be a few. Back Liverpool to win 3-0 at 15/2.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Watford (12.30)
Wolves have been very strong defensively this season, something that you cannot say about Watford and as such, that makes the home side the very strong favourites to win this game. Wolves issue is scoring goals but they will likely get a few chances to do that against a Watford side that have shipped plenty against good sides this season. Take Wolves to win to nil which is a 2/1 shot with bet365.
Burnley v Everton
Both these teams have picked up four points from their last five but only Everton have managed a win in that run. Burnley have become draw specialists and that will worry Sean Dyche who can usually rely on his team to drag out wins from a number of these closer games. This will be a similar kind of game to that but I also feel that Everton have hat extra cutting edge in attack and midfield to perhaps snatch the win here. Take Everton to win at 2/1.
Manchester City v Leicester City
Manchester City have been sweeping all before them in the league in recent weeks and after stuffing seven past Leeds, they added four more in the week away to Newcastle. With a squad not as badly affected by Covid as others, City are making hay while the sun shines for them and I do fear for Leicester as they have not had much luck with Covid issues and this looks like being a very tough afternoon for them. A 4-0 win for Man City looks on the cards to me which is an 11/1 shot.
Norwich City v Arsenal
I did wonder at one point whether Norwich could possibly save themselves with Dean Smith at the helm, but in recent games, I have come to the conclusion that they can’t. I just don’t think their squad is Premier League level and they are being found out. Arsenal have hit a rich vein of form in their last three games and I feel that they are going to be far too strong for the Canaries here. Arsenal to win to nil is a 7/5 shot with bet365 and that looks a fine bet to me.
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace
Antonio Conte got the performance he wanted from his Spurs team against Liverpool at the weekend and with the chances they created against the Reds, they will probably feel that they should have won that game. They face a Crystal Palace side who are comfortably in mid-table under Patrick Vieira and who I think are developing into a good side. However, I feel it is a big ask for them to get something here. I am backing Spurs to win a narrow one 2-1 which is an 8/1 shot with bet365.
West Ham United v Southampton
Southampton have been tough to beat this season but they have struggled to win many games. West Ham have hit a similar problem recently with just one win in their last five Premier League matches seeing them drop to fifth in the table. However, I feel this is a game where they can get back on track and I am backing them to do that here. Take West Ham to win and both teams to score at 12/5.
Aston Vila v Chelsea (5.30pm)
I think it is fair to say that Chelsea come into this game in their worst run of form of the season. A loss to West Ham has been the poorest result in amongst a number of draws, the latest coming against Wolves last Sunday. Villa’s improved form under Steven Gerrard will make this another very tough game, but although Chelsea didn’t manage to get the win at Wolves, I feel they may just do so here. Back Chelsea to land the win 1-0 at 6/1.
Brighton v Brentford (8.00pm)
Both these teams have been hit by illness in the past few weeks and Brighton have gone a fair few games without landing a win, although they have not lost too many of those games. They should have won a couple too, but wasteful finishing has cost them. Brentford are a dangerous side and have been lively on the road this season and while this is a tricky game for both sides, I do feel a draw is the most likely result which is a 15/4 option at bet365.
Monday 27th December
Newcastle United v Manchester United (8.00pm)
The last four times these teams have met Man Utd have won 4-1 three times and 3-1 once. They have also won their last three games, whereas Newcastle have lost all their last three and have shipped the most goals in the EPL (41). Any way you look at this, it should be a win for the visitors, and yet sometimes Newcastle can get these strange results. I can’t quite see that happening here though as I am backing Manchester United to win this one 3-1 (11/1).