Week 18 of the Premier League is here, as Boxing Day takes place on Friday with 10 games in one day. Madness. But this is officially my favorite day of the PL calendar, as packed stadiums, upsets and huge matches make the day after Christmas seem like another huge celebration.
I’ve consulted my crystal ball (he wishes you all a Merry Christmas, by the way) and here’s how I see things panning out…
BASICALLY, FREE MONEY
Manchester United vs. Newcastle United – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
The Red Devils will keep on rolling past the Magpies, as Louis van Gaal’s decision to give his side the day off Christmas will pay off.
Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United
Leicester City vs. Tottenham – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
It will not be a Happy New Year for fans of the Foxes. Rock bottom of the table and in danger of being cut adrift, Spurs will continue their upsurge with Harry Kane leading the way.
Leicester 1-3 Tottenham
Arsenal vs. QPR – (Friday, 12:30.m. ET, NBCSN)
It will be no points from away games for QPR as they head into 2015. The R’s will be undone by Arsenal’s attackers, as Charlie Austin can’t do it all on his own.
Arsenal 2-0 QPR
Everton vs. Stoke City – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
The Potters looked toothless in attack against Chelsea on Monday and Everton will bounce back from their resounding defeat to Southampton. Toffees to win.
Everton 2-0 Stoke City
Chelsea vs. West Ham United – (Friday, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Massive London derby at Stamford Bridge, as many will expect West Ham to shock Chelsea. I don’t see it. Jose Mourinho’s boys are ruthless and will deal with the aerial bombardment. Home win for the PL leaders.
Chelsea 3-1 West Ham United
DON’T TOUCH THIS…
Crystal Palace vs. Southampton – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
Ronald Koeman’s boys will fancy three points here after shellacking Everton last time out, but Selhurst Park is a tough place to go and the Eagles and sinking dangerously close to the relegation zone. Draw.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Southampton
Swansea vs. Aston Villa – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
The Swans may sneak this one but the Villains showed against Manchester United that they can battle until the end. Can’t call this one, don’t touch it.
Swansea 2-1 Aston Villa
“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”
Burnley vs. Liverpool – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
This would be a massive upset, but Burnley brings back bad memories for Reds fans. Remember Djimi Traore’s own goal back in a cup match at Turf Moor? Yeah. With Liverpool’s confidence low and Burnley continuing to adjust to life in the PL, this is where a Boxing Day shock could occur.
Burnley 2-1 Liverpool
West Brom vs. Man City – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
Not so much an upset, but despite City’s dominance of Palace last weekend they did give up plenty of chances at the back. With a striker shortage, this could be a real test away at the Hawthorns.
West Brom 2-2 Man City
Sunderland vs. Hull City – (Friday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime)
After beating Newcastle in the derby last weekend, Sunderland’s players will be flying. Maybe a little too confident, as Steve Bruce’s side are in the bottom three and have won just once since the opening day of the season. I can see the Tigers boss beating his old team.
Sunderland 1-2 Hull City