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English Premier League Preview

There's loads of Boxing Day action in the EPL as well as some other enticing midweek fixtures.
There's loads of Boxing Day action in the EPL as well as some other enticing midweek fixtures.
Gameweek 18 of the Premier League sees Chelsea six points clear at the summit of the table after 11 straight league wins. Thanks to that incredible winning streak, Antonio Conte is now the first manager in history to win 14 of his first 17 Premier League games in charge. It’s clear the Blues are the team to beat – and I tipped them to win the title this season – but it’s still far from over. What makes the Premier League so exciting is that anyone can beat anyone.

After back-to-back losses, Arsenal trail the runaway leaders by nine points and the Gunners will look to return to winning ways against West Brom. Man United will be confident of a fourth straight league win when they host relegation-threatened Sunderland, while Hull and Man City will go head to head for what can only be described as a blood bath waiting to happen. Chelsea will be hopeful of making history against Bournemouth, but they’ll be without N’Golo Kante and Diego Costa. On Tuesday, Liverpool welcome Stoke to Anfield, before Tottenham travel to Southampton in arguably the biggest fixture of the round on Wednesday. It’s another thrilling round of Premier League action and lots of money to be made.

Monday 26 December

27/20 Watford | Draw 9/4 | Crystal Palace 2/1 (14:30)

The opening fixture on Boxing Day pits 12th-placed Watford against 17th-placed Crystal Palace. The Hornets come into this match off a 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, their second consecutive loss. They’ve lost four of their last five matches – three of those losses away from home – and Walter Mazzarri will be hoping a return to Vicarage Road will see his side turnaround their recent slump. Palace find themselves only a point clear of the drop zone and Alan Pardew will be aware that results need to improve quickly with the Eagles having managed just one win in their last 11 league games. Pardew’s side are winless in their last five travels, suffering three defeats. Not the ideal game to bet on, but my money’s on the home win.

3/10 Arsenal | 17/4 | West Brom 15/2 (17:00)

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37/20 Burnley | 21/10 | Middlesbrough 16/10 (17:00)

Burnley’s poor away form continued as they were narrowly beaten 2-1 by Tottenham, their seventh defeat from eight games on the road. Only their strong performances and results at Turf Moor have been keeping their head above the Premier League’s low-water mark. Sean Dyche’s team have won four of their last six home games, losing against Arsenal and Manchester City. Middlesbrough snapped their two-match losing streak, defeating Swansea 3-0 thanks to a brace from Alvaro Negredo and a Marten de Roon tap-in. Aitor Karanka’s side will be looking to build on that result and secure only their second away win of the season. Boro had drawn four matches in a row on their travels, before their 1-0 defeat against Southampton in their last away match. I’m going for Burnley on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 9/20.

4/10 Chelsea | 15/4 | Bournemouth 13/2 (17:00)

Table-toppers Chelsea will be looking to make history by recording a 12th straight league win for the first time in their history. Antonio Conte’s side are riding an 11-match winning streak having scored 25 goals while conceding just twice in the process – keeping nine clean sheets. It’s not the first time Chelsea has gone on such a run. In 2009, they also won 11 games on the spin, before going on to win the title. The Blues will be without N’Golo Kante and Diego Costa on Boxing Day after the duo received their fifth bookings of the season in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace. Cesc Fabregas is likely to partner Nemanja Matic in midfield, while Eden Hazard could spearhead the attack ahead of Michy Batshuayi with Pedro and Willian on the wings. Bournemouth come off a 3-1 home loss against Southampton and have won just once on the road this season, losing five of their eight travels. The home win is a banker bet.

14/10 Leicester City | 23/10 | Everton 19/10 (17:00)

Champions Leicester City recovered from Jamie Vardy's red card and a two-goal deficit to claim an incredible draw at Stoke City. The result leaves Leicester three points above the relegation zone in 15th. Jamie Vardy faces a three-game ban for his red card, although City are appealing the decision, while Christian Fuchs and Robert Huth will miss this clash after picking up their fifth booking of the season. Claudio Ranieri will be hoping to have influential midfielder Danny Drinkwater back, after missing the last two games with a knee injury and the previous three through suspension. Everton will be looking to recover from their 1-0 defeat at home to rivals Liverpool. The Toffees have won just once in their last seven Premier League games, suffering four defeats. Ronald Koeman’s side have improved in recent weeks, beating Arsenal 2-1 and were unlucky not to draw against Liverpool. With Leicester’s key players set to miss, I’m confident Everton will get a result here. Back the Toffees on the Win/Draw Double Chance at 11/20.

2/9 Man United | 5/1 | Sunderland 12/1 (17:00)

Man United are starting to put their chances away, and it’s making a difference to their points tally. The Red Devils’ 2-0 victory over in-form West Brom means they stretch their unbeaten run to 10 games in all competitions. They have won their past three league games, something they had not managed since winning the opening three league matches. Though the team are still in sixth, the improvement from the players is clear and Jose Mourinho’s own connection with the fans is growing by the game. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in top form, scoring 16 goals in 25 appearances so far this term – his strike rate increasing in the last month. Relegation-threatened Sunderland come off a 1-0 win over Watford, ending a two-match losing streak. David Moyes will have something to prove against the club that sacked him after 10 months in charge. However, the Black Cats have managed just one victory on the road this season, losing five of their eight matches. United are too short at 2/9 so back them to win Half-time at 6/10.

16/10 Swansea | 9/4 | West Ham 17/10 (17:00)

Swansea further established their relegation credentials by losing 3-0 – their second defeat in a row – at Middlesbrough last Saturday. That was their 11th defeat of the season and the sinking Swans are only off the bottom at Christmas on goal difference. They have taken just one point from a possible 24 on their travels since their opening-day win at Burnley. However, Bob Bradley’s side have won their last two home games, scoring eight goals in the process. West Ham secured successive 1-0 victories after following up their midweek win over Burnley with another narrow success against Hull City. The Hammers have taken seven points from their last three games and have moved five points clear of the relegation zone. Slaven Bilic’s side have shown signs of improvement and they are well worth a punt at 17/10.

7/1 Hull City | 17/4 | Man City 7/20 (19:15)

Hull City have finally fallen to the foot of the Premier League table, and I think that’s where they will stay until the curtain drops. Mike Phelan’s side have managed just three wins this season, losing 11 of their 17 matches – scoring 14 goals and shipping 36 in the process. They remain winless in six matches having lost back-to-back games against Tottenham and West Ham. Man City secured a vital 2-1 win over Arsenal thanks to second-half goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. The win moved City above the Gunners into second in the table, but still seven points behind runaway leaders Chelsea. Pep Guardiola’s men have now won back-to-back Premier League ties since that humiliation at the hands of Leicester. Fernandinho will return from suspension but Sergio Aguero has one more match to miss. Still, City will have too much class for the league’s bottom side – back them to win on the Half-time/Full-time Double at 17/20.

Tuesday 27 December

3/10 Liverpool | 9/2 | Stoke 8/1 (19:15)

Sadio Mane's stoppage time goal earned Liverpool a dramatic 1-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park, moving them up to second in the Premier League table. That was the Reds’ second straight league win, having kept clean sheets in both games. Jurgen Klopp’s side will look to extend their winning streak against Stoke. They are unbeaten at Anfield this season with five wins from seven games, scoring 21 goals while conceding six. Stoke City threw away a two-goal lead against 10-man Leicester City to succumb to a 2-2 draw at the bet365 Stadium. Mark Hughes’ side are now winless in three matches and their record at Anfield doesn’t bode well for their chances. The Reds are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League home meetings with Stoke, winning five times. The home win is tipped confidently.

Wednesday 28 December

18/10 Southampton | 22/10 | Tottenham 31/20 (21:45)

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TREBLE @ 5/1
Chelsea Win 4/10
West Ham Win 17/10
Everton Win/Draw Double Chance 11/20

Written by Chadley Nagel