Picking Premier League matches is hard work, especially on Boxing Day.
But with holiday season and the packed Premier League schedule there’s one thing fans can count on – upsets.
Lots and lots of upsets.
Aston Villa v. Crystal Palace (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Villa Park)
Fans will be crashing the Live Extra site trying to watch this thriller!
Ok, maybe not. But that’s just because over the last three matches Villa have completely lost the plot.
It all started when they were beaten 0-2 at Fulham… As in second-to-last place Fulham. And not only that, Paul Lambert’s side kind of got worked that match. (Nothing against the Cottagers but even those fans freely admit their squad has hugely underperformed this year).
Then Villa went and got smoked 0-3 by Manchester United two weeks ago before crumbling 1-2 at the hands of Stoke City last weekend. Not good. And now, factor in that Benteke is out indefinitely with a knee injury and it’s as I said: Plot. Lost.
Aston Villa 0 Crystal Palace 1
Cardiff City v. Southampton (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Cardiff City Stadium)
A lot of people hate their bosses, which stinks. If you’re one of those people just remember – at least your boss isn’t Vincent Tan. Because that dude would be miserable to work for.
I feel for Mackay, I really do. I feel like he needs a hug. Or a beer. Preferably both, I suppose.
On Thursday, I think the fans at Cardiff City Stadium will give Mackay the symbolic equivalent of a hug and a beer – 90 minutes of madness. That stadium is already loud but on Boxing Day, I expect it to be through the roof. And I expect the Bluebirds to win.
Cardiff City 3 Southampton 2
Norwich City v. Fulham (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Carrow Road)
I fancy Fulham under Rene Meulensteen. They’ve had some tough opponents in Tottenham and Manchester City but beat Aston Villa and played well in the loss to Everton.
Plus now, the Deuce is back loose in West London. Game on.
Norwich City 0 Fulham 1
West Ham United v. Arsenal (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Upton Park)
That Chelsea match took a lot out of Arsenal, both physically and mentally. I hate to say it but I see West Ham coming into this match looking to replicate what the Blues did on Monday – defend deep and kick Arsenal all over the park.
Crazy things happen on Boxing Day.
West Ham United 1 Arsenal 0
Manchester City v. Liverpool (Thu 102:30pm ET on NBCSN; Etihad Stadium)
How tasty is this matchup?
City, at home, are the logical favorites. But what if Liverpool went into the Etihad and managed to be the first club this season to steal a point?
That would be
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2
Newcastle United v. Stoke City (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; St James’ Park)
I’m comfortable writing the following sentence: Stoke City are actually a pretty good side this year.
Newcastle 2 Stoke City 2
Tottenham Hotspur v. West Bromwich Albion (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; White Hart Lane)
Congrats to Tim Sherwood on his 18 month head coaching job at Spurs. Is there anyone on the planet who thinks this will actually work out?
Granted, it’ll be good for the players’ heads because Sherwood will free them from the needless algorithms that AVB put into their minds.
But I don’t see them finishing Top 4, and that’s what the chairman Daniel Levy wants. Top 4 and a big name manager.
After the World Cup, I expect Levy to hire Van Gaal. Sorry, Timmy.
Tottenham Hotspur 3 West Bromwich Albion 2
Hull City v. Manchester United (Thu 7:45am ET on NBCSN; KC Stadium)
Hull City boasts a lot of ex-United players in their ranks (James Chester, Corry Evans, Paul McShane and Robbie Brady) but let’s not forget, they are ‘ex’ players for a reason – they’re not good enough.
Sounds a bit harsh but such is life. Fortunately for Hull, Steve Bruce has these boys playing with plenty of grit and bite.
Is it enough to throw United off their current form?
Hull City 1 Manchester United 2
Everton v. Sunderland (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Goodison Park)
Poor display for Everton last weekend but still showed the grit to beat Swansea. The game spoke volumes about the difference between the Toffees under Moyes v. under Martinez. Moyes would’ve secured the draw, Martinez pushed for the win. End of story.
Everton 3 Sunderland 1
Chelsea v. Swansea City (Thu 10:00am ET on Live Extra; Stamford Bridge)
The style that Mourinho’s side broke out against Arsenal on Monday was appalling. I refuse to believe that a squad with as much quality as Chelsea will continue to play in such a stubborn, uninspired manner.
Mourinho said it was a “tactic” specific to Arsenal (and Manchester United, earlier in the season). Either way, it was gross.
But not as gross as Gerhard Tremmel. Not sure I see Swansea winning (ever?) with him between the sticks.
Chelsea 4 Swansea City 1