It’s time for the most exciting time of the year as the Premier League gears up for the famous Boxing Day.
However, a new COVID-19 outbreak in England has already changed the landscape of the marquee day in the festive fixtures.
Meetings between Liverpool and Leeds United, and Wolverhampton Wanderers and Watford have been postponed on Thursday, while Everton’s trip to Burnley suffered the same fate on Friday.
As things stand right now, six Boxing Day fixtures are set to go ahead as we take a quick look at each one of them.
Manchester City vs Leicester City
Etihad Stadium plays host to arguably the most intriguing Boxing Day encounter between Premier League leaders Manchester City and mid-table Leicester City.
Bernardo Silva’s second-half goal decided an evenly-contested reverse fixture at the King Power Stadium to make it two top-flight H2Hs wins in a row for Man City.
However, last season’s 5-2 toppling in this exact fixture must still be looming in the forefront of Pep Guardiola’s mind, issuing a warning to his side not to take Leicester lightly.
Brendan Rodgers’ side thumped relegation-battling Newcastle United 4-0 in their most recent league outing after conceding 2+ goals in four consecutive Premier League games beforehand.
Norwich City vs Arsenal
Desperate to escape from the Premier League bottom at Christmas, Norwich City will be gunning for their first league win over Arsenal since October 2012.
Despite enjoying the benefit of playing at home, the Canaries will be wary of the recent scoring woes that have seen them draw a blank in back-to-back top-flight matches at Carrow Road (L2).
Meanwhile, the Gunners have gone from consecutive Premier League defeats to three league victories in a row, defeating their opposition on the day by a 2+ goal margin on each occasion.
Mikel Arteta’s side will be confident of solidifying their position inside the Premier League top four.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace
Tottenham and Crystal Palace go head-to-head at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in an all-London Boxing Day match-up.
Spurs are unbeaten in all five Premier League matches under new manager Antonio Conte (W3, D2) and remain very much in contention for a top-four finish.
Coming into this matchday, they trail fourth-placed Arsenal by six points, albeit they have three games in hand over bitter rivals, meaning their top-four pursuit is still on.
Tottenham will be driven by revenge following an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park, their first league loss under the now ex-manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
West Ham United vs Southampton
West Ham United will be looking to return to the Premier League scoresheet after a brace of scoring blanks when they take on bottom-half Southampton at the London Stadium.
Despite their recent downfall, David Moyes’ men have been nothing short of outstanding at home of late, going unbeaten in their last four top-flight games at the London Stadium (W3, D1).
Additionally, the Hammers have won 14 of their last 18 Premier League H2Hs on home turf (L4), reinforcing their hopes of getting back on winning ways here.
As for Southampton, a run of six league matches without a win (D3, L3) puts under-pressure manager Ralph Hasenhuttl in an awkward spot ahead of this trip.
With the Saints steadily approaching the drop zone, the pressure is ramping up on Hasenhuttl.
Aston Villa vs Chelsea
Aston Villa are gearing up for a massive showdown against Chelsea at Villa Park amid an indifferent run of form under new manager Steven Gerrard.
Since Gerrard’s arrival at the helm in November, none of Villa’s six Premier League matches have ended level (W4, L2), with the Lions alternating between winning and losing across their last five league outings (W3, L2).
Although they won this exact fixture 2-1 back in the 2020/21 season, the Midlands outfit suffered a horrific 3-0 loss at Stamford Bridge earlier this term.
That’s the kind of performance Chelsea will be looking to muster in Birmingham following a brace of low-scoring draws as they enter this round six points adrift of pacesetters Man City.
Brighton & Hove Albion vs Brentford
Amex Stadium will host the second-ever Premier League meeting between an out-of-sorts Brighton & Hove Albion and the league debutants Brentford.
The Seagulls eked out a 1-0 victory at the Brentford Community Stadium in the reverse fixture back in September, courtesy of Leandro Trossard’s 90th-minute winner.
As a result, they’ll be aiming to complete only their second league double over Brentford, last managing such feat in the 2010/11 League One season.
Having conceded 2+ goals in each of their last four Premier League travels on the trot (D2, L2), the Bees appear to be incapable of throwing a spanner in the works.
- ‘I am very sorry to him’ – Son Heung-min reacts to Antonio Conte sacking
- Juventus open to renegotiating Denis Zakaria loan deal with Chelsea
- Atletico Madrid set to battle out for Moroccan midfielder Sofyan Amrabat
- Tottenham rejected by Niko Kovac amid search for Conte’s successor
- Chelsea star Mateo Kovacic draws interest from Man City and Bayern Munich