Goalscorers will be looking to sniff out some extra 'presents' on Boxing Day.

Premier League Sunday Preview: Newcastle host Man City, Stoke take on Liverpool

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On Sunday there are two tremendous treats heading your way.

Make sure you’re up early to witness a soccer masterclass, as back-to-back matches from the Premier League is a sure-fire way to start your Sunday off right.  

Title hopefuls against top six teams, hostile atmospheres and global sueprstars galore… this Sunday has it all.

Grab some breakfast, and a big ol’ cup of tea before you settle down to watch these four teams slog it out in the harsh English winter. Expect plenty of twists and turns and plenty of pulsating action.

Let’s get to it.

Newcastle United vs. Manchester City, live on NBCSN at 9:05am ET

source: Getty Images
Expect a powerful battle at St. James’ Park on Sunday, as two in-form teams go at it.

Early on Sunday we will be treated to a masterful game at St. James’ Park as free-flowing Man City roll into town to play Newcastle. City have scored 92 goals in their 31 games so far this campaign and the interchangeable attackers they have at their disposal means a game against the Citizens often feels like a date with clinical creativity. Newcastle are in the top eight after a marvelous spell for Alan Pardew’s men, as his strong French legion headlined by Loic Remy, Yoann Gouffran and Yohan Cabaye have blossomed. A top six finish is well in sight for the Magpies and the passionate fans in the North East will welcome City with plenty of hostility, as the Premier League’s entertainers look to go top of the table. City will be buoyed by their recent results against Newcastle, with the Manchester club winning the last eight-straight and they haven’t tasted defeat at the hands of Newcastle in 14 games.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are unstoppable at home, but have struggled away all season. Recently they’ve done better away from the Etihad but a tricky trip to in-form Newcastle should be a real test, especially without top striker Sergio Aguero who is still injured. That said they do have Edin Dzeko and Alavaro Negredo who can’t stop scoring, so they should be set for a goal threat. Get ready for this brutal battle on the North Sea coast, as Newcastle look to avenge a 4-0 hammering on the opening weekend of the season back in August.

Stoke City vs. Liverpool, live on NBCSN at 11:10am ET

source: Getty Images
Daniel Sturridge is set to return from injury vs. Stoke on Sunday. As S.A.S. will be back together.

The Potters like playing against Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium. They like it a lot, and in fact Liverpool have not won at Stoke in the league since 1984. Last season Stoke recorded a memorable 3-1 win over the Reds and will be looking to emulate that when the Reds roll into Staffordshire on Sunday. Stoke are playing much better soccer under Mark Hughes, and in the Welshman’s first season in charge his side are developing nicely as the season progresses. The Potters have already beaten Chelsea at home and have added some creativity to their staunch defensive displays. As for Liverpool, they will welcome back Daniel Sturridge from his long-term injury as the famous S.A.S. partnership will be reunited, with Sturridge and Luis Suarez leading the line on Sunday.

Whilst captain Steven Gerrard is also back fit and ready to help Liverpool maintain their terrific season, with a top four finish the main aim for Brendan Rodgers side. If they want to do that they’ll need to go to places like Stoke, where the home side are unbeaten in seven in an intimidating atmosphere, and win. Expect a real clash of style at the Britannia as Suarez and co. aim to keep up with the chasing pack at the top of the table.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?

Olivier Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott

Olivier Giroud, France
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Is it just me, or does the press really only ever get noteworthy quotes from players during international breaks?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

I suppose it’s not surprising, given Premier League players get away from the mean ole British press, go back to their respective homelands and speak with journalists they’ve likely known since their early playing days, thus feel more comfortable opening up about key issues.

Anyway, today we have Olivier Giroud essentially calling himself out for having lost the starting striker’s job at Arsenal because he’s been outplayed of late by Theo Walcott. As discussed before, this is bad news for Giroud because he’s now falling down the depth chart for France with next summer’s European Championship on the horizon.

[ MORE: Aguero admits he wants Guardiola link-up ]

Giroud, on losing his place at Arsenal — quotes from the Guardian:

“At Arsenal, I am in competition with Theo for the striker position. But he is doing well at the moment, so there is no reason to change.

“Whether it was at Tours, Montpellier or Arsenal, I have never experienced a situation like this, I have often played from the start. I need to take positives and to harden myself mentally. It is something new for me.

“I was in [Walcott’s] place in previous seasons at Arsenal. I imagine what he must have been thinking. But I feel that the coach believes in me.”

Giroud goes on to cast into doubt his own confidence, stating in very certain terms he needs “to believe more in [his] abilities.” Giroud’s always come across as a bit of an existentialist, but it’s always strange to hear players publicly call themselves out — particularly their confidence — as if that’s not going to increase the pressure currently weighing down on them.

[ MORE: Rodgers reportedly chosen to take over at Aston Villa ]

The next eight months are going to be monumentally important in Giroud’s career, as the 29-year-old attempts to prove he’s worth keeping around at Arsenal and deserving of a place in the national team squad for next summer’s EUROs, which are to be played in France.