The main festivities are over so time to turn attention to the annual round of Boxing Day footy.
After a lively weekend, Manchester City are out in front at top whilst the European spot and relegation battles are too close to call.
Various highlights from this Boxing Day includes; Tottenham vs Southampton, Bournemouth vs West Ham and Manchester United vs Burnley.
*3pm unless stated
Tottenham Hotspur vs Southampton (12:30pm)
Tottenham enter this game off the back of a decent run this month, taking ten points from five league games.
Southampton meanwhile have suffered three draws and two defeats to leave them just three points above drop.
With Spurs using Wembley as their home, we have to disregard their home record in this fixture.
That however doesn’t take away from fact that since the Saints returned to top flight, they have won just five points from this fixture.
This game could also see Alan Shearer’s calendar year goal record of 36 goals broke by Harry Kane, if he scores here.
Ultimately, that and Kane’s recent form will be the defining difference.
Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Southampton
Jake predicts: Tottenham Hotspurr 3-0 Southampton
Result: Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 Southampton
Bournemouth vs West Ham
These teams are split by the red line in 18th and 17th respectively, making this a must win.
Bournemouth are currently in a goal scorer injury crisis with Jermain Defoe and Joshua King both out injured.
West Ham appears to have taken a positive turn, despite losing 2-3 to Newcastle at weekend.
The four league meetings so far have produced 17 goals but don’t expect much here.
Bournemouth are currently without a win in seven league games, despite scoring four and conceding 14 goals.
The Hammers meanwhile have a terrible away record with just six wins on the road throughout 2017, in all competitions.
Mark Arnautovic however has shown his best form lately with three goals in four.
Despite that, there are various factors making this rather low key but fancy the Hammers to win this.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0-1 West Ham
Jake predicts: Bournemouth 2-2 West Ham
Result: Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham
Chelsea vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton will be happy to be entering this game safely just above the drop zone as Chelsea look to continue a strong home run.
Since losing to Man City at end of September, the Blues have gone unbeaten in their eight home games across all competitions.
These teams haven’t met much but Chelsea boast a (W1 D1 L6) record with the Seagulls only scoring one in last six clashes.
If compare Chelsea’s home per game average for certain areas to that of Brighton’s away, the former come up trumps in all but one.
|Per game average||Chelsea (home)||Brighton (away)|
|Shots on Target||6.89||2.44|
Surprisingly, the Blues and Seagulls average the same total number of fouls so this could be a feisty test.
In end, I can see just one easy winner.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Jake predicts: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Result: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Huddersfield vs Stoke
Huddersfield will be hoping for to maintain their impressive home record against non ‘big six’ teams.
From five home clashes with those around them, the Terries has a (W3 D2) record so will be tough to beat here.
Stoke however have been woeful on the road in 2017 with a (W2 D4 L13) so will be easy prey here.
These teams do have Boxing Day history, having met before here with the Potters winning 3-0 exactly 30 years ago.
That will count for little cos the home/away form contrasts a lot and will be the defining difference here.
Although pressure on Mark Hughes eased after beating Midlands rivals – West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, I think Huddersfield will win here.
Prediction: Huddersfield 2-0 Stoke
Jake predicts: Huddersfield 3-0 Stoke
Result: Huddersfield 1-1 Stoke
Manchester United vs Burnley
Both teams will be keen to get back to their best after a difficult Saturday.
Manchester United struggled defensively in a sluggish 2-2 draw at Leicester so have a point to prove.
Burnley however were delivered a rare home mauling, courtesy of Tottenham. They now need to bounce back if want to stay in chase for European football.
Fortunately, it looks like the visitors who will be happy come full time given this fixture and date’s history.
Three times has this fixture been played on Boxing Day with the Clarets winning all three, twice at Old Trafford then 6-1 at Turf Moor in 1963.
United however are unbeaten since in 13 home league games against Burnley, despite drawing 0-0 here last season.
Since the Premier League formed, United have lost just four games on 26th December out of 23.
Burnley meanwhile have played three Premier League Boxing Day games, winning one and losing two.
This game should be a fun one with so much at stake and Sean Dyche’s men haven’t gone three without a win this season.
Ultimately Burnley holds the upper hand for me, due to winning all three previous Boxing Day clashes in the old football divisions era.
Prediction: Manchester United 0-1 Burnley
Jake predicts: Manchester United 2-1 Burnley
Result: Manchester United 2-2 Burnley
Watford vs Leicester
Watford face a tough test as they look to get back to winning ways as they welcome Leicester to Vicarage Road.
Just over two months ago, Watford were sat in 5th with 15 points but flash-forward to 23rd December, they find themselves in 10th with 22 points.
That shows how badly things have deteriorated because the Hornets are now six points off the drop.
Since September, Leicester however have been stronger away from home with 13 points compared to 12 at home.
Both teams however have struggled in the Premier League on Boxing Day.
Watford are yet to win any on this date whilst the Foxes have just one Premier League win on Boxing Day.
Prediction wise, I am going to back Leicester because they seem to have momentum with them and Riyad Mahrez likes scoring at this ground.
Prediction: Watford 0-2 Leicester
Jake predicts Watford 1-0 Leicester
Result: Watford 2-1 Leicester
WBA vs Everton
West Brom enter this still looking for their first win under Alan Pardew, as they look to avoid making it 18 winless matches in all competitions.
Sam Allardyce meanwhile remains unbeaten as Everton boss with three wins and two draws.
Fortune however seems to be favouring the Toffees, who have won their last three visits to the Hawthorns.
Most of the action could come in first half because West Brom average 55.6% of their home goals in that half.
Everton is same like wise for the away goal average with 71.4% of their goals being netted before half time whistle.
The Toffees last lost away on Boxing Day at Villa Park in 2005 but Allardyce has lost all of his games on this date as a Premier League boss.
For that reason, I am predicting a draw here.
Prediction: WBA 1-1 Everton
Jake predicts: WBA 0-2 Everton
Result: WBA 0-0 Everton
Liverpool vs Swansea (5:30pm)
Both teams come into this game off the back of draws at the weekend.
Swansea are still without a new manager but won here in January so know how to beat the Reds.
Liverpool meanwhile are in fine home form this season, suffering no defeats and scoring 29 goals across all competitions.
They are also yet to lose a top flight game on Boxing Day since 1986.
Swansea meanwhile has spent the last three Christmases in the relegation zone before surviving.
If they do survive, I feel that the Swans might of inherited Sunderland’s reputation for drop zone flirtation.
Sunderland spent three of their last four seasons in Premier League in bottom three at this point, before ultimately going down at end of last season.
Throw in the fact that 61% of teams in that dreaded zone on Xmas Day has gone down, then you have to worry for this club.
Turning attention to match and I think there will be only one winner with Mo Salah on fire.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Swansea
Jake predicts: Liverpool 4-0 Swansea
Result: Liverpool 5-0 Swansea
Here at Sport Grill, me and Jake Self are going head to head predicting games.
Here is how things stand after the previous round of games along with the rules.
Correct score – 3 points
Correct result – 1 point
Incorrect result – 0 points
- But seeing as this is a holiday round, its double points on offer for correct score and result.