Live on Skysports 1: Sun 12.00 & 17.30: Man United (3/10, Betdaq) face Sunderland and Newcastle take on Man City on Boxing Day.
Christmas Day is the one point in the year that it’s almost possible to sympathise with millionaire footballers, who have to steer clear of the traditional seasonal gluttony ahead of the busy Boxing Day programme. This year however, the respective squads of Arsenal and Chelsea can at least enjoy a small sherry and a mince pie on Saturday, as their potential Christmas cracker at the Emirates Stadium isn’t until Monday evening.
The Gunners are slender 6/4 favourites with bet365 to give Chelsea a stuffing while the Blues are 15/8 (888Sport) to make the hosts look like turkeys and William Hill quote the pair at 12/5 to get into the festive spirit and share the points.
As the champions are winless in five in the league and Arsene Wenger’s side have been hit and miss of late, it’s hard to make a strong case for either and subsequently the stalemate looks the best bet here while Partybets’ 11/2 for the Blues to play out a fourth consecutive 1-1 draw isn’t without appeal.
It’s a clash in which both teams should find the net (4/6, Stan James) and champing at the bit after having his comeback delayed by the weather last weekend, Frank Lampard could find the target for the visitors at some stage, an outcome quoted by Coral at 3/1. At the other end, Samir Nasri has five in seven in all competitions and can be backed at 13/5 with Stan James to strike again at any point.
Leaders Manchester United are just 3/10 (Betdaq) to keep their title challenge in rude health by getting the better of former Old Trafford hero Steve Bruce’s Sunderland. The Black Cats are in the top six, which would suggest they can make life difficult for United but their best work is done at home and Fergie’s charges, priced at 10/11 by Paddy Power to win ‘to nil’, are worth considering at 11/2 () to notch twice without reply.
At St James’ Park, Newcastle are hoping to hear plenty of Carroll singing, with powerful striker Andy available at 6/1 (Coral) to break the deadlock against Manchester City. However, the inconsistency of the Magpies could be their undoing and Roberto Mancini’s men, at 5/4 with William Hill could sneak it.
Only Arsenal have beaten Aston Villa at Villa Park this season and Gerard Houllier’s men can keep that record going by avoiding defeat (4/7, ) against Tottenham in a game rated by Betfred at 9/4 to finish all square. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s dismal away form means they’re distinctly unattractive at 8/11 (Ladbrokes) to collect three points at Blackpool, who are undoubtedly overpriced at 4/1 with Betdaq. Take Coral’s 5/4 posted against the Seasiders in the handicaps, where they receive a goal start.
Buoyed by the win over Manchester City, Everton look a relatively safe bet at 4/6 with Ladbrokes as they host Birmingham and home wins could also be on the cards for Bolton (11/10, bet365) and Wolves (11/10, Stan James), who entertain West Brom and Wigan respectively. Finally, Betdaq offer 5/2 for Fulham and West Ham to be inseparable at Craven Cottage and 9/4 is Totesport’s draw quote as Blackburn face Stoke.