The English Premier League doesn’t stop for Christmas and there’s a full slate of top-flight action during the Christmas holiday, with nine games on December 26.
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Who do Bettors Favor?
Christmas is the busiest time of year in the English Premier League and there are plenty of soccer betting opportunities available at the best sportsbooks. The top two in the table, Manchester City and Liverpool, are both short-priced favourites to win their home games, against Leicester City and Leeds United respectively, while Tottenham and Wolves are favoured to beat Crystal Palace and Watford.
|Tottenham v Crystal Palace|
Tottenham v Crystal Palace, 2021-12-26
This is not the most high profile of London derbies but this fixture carries more interest than usual as both teams are on an upward curve.
Tottenham have made significant improvements since Antonio Conte has arrived at the club. The man who steered Chelsea to Premier League success knows his way around the Premier League and despite his team being hit by COVID-19 complications, they have continued to get better. Their latest strong performance was a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, which showed that they can match the top sides in the division, particularly if key man Harry Kane is back in form.
Yet Conte will be well aware of the parallel improvements across the river at Selhurst Park. Under Patrick Vieira, Palace have developed well ahead of schedule, playing an attractive and effective brand of football that has lifted them to a comfortable mid-table spot. Their best performances, however, have been at home, and in what should be an entertaining game, I’ll be siding with Tottenham.
Manchester City v Leicester, 2021-12-26
Pep Guardiola’s league champions are looking unstoppable at the moment and they look a solid wager to extend their good form against Leicester City on Boxing Day.
City have put together a run of nine consecutive wins, with the latest being a comfortable 4-0 success at Newcastle. That game was also notable for being the third clean sheet that City have kept in a row, confirming them as the team with the best defensive record in the division.
They aren’t short of goals either, scoring at a rate of 2.44 per game, and Leicester fans may fear for the worst here, given their team’s poor defensive performances. The Foxes are ninth in the Premier League table but they have the fifth-worst goals conceded record, despite having played fewer games than most other teams. Anything other than a City win here would be a huge surprise.
Liverpool v Leeds, 2021-12-26
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was frustrated by the draw at Tottenham at the weekend and with good reason. With City looking unstoppable at the moment, the Reds cannot afford to drop any points if they hope to keep pace with their rivals, and they will be determined to get back on track.
That’s ominous for Leeds United ahead of their trip to Anfield on Boxing Day. Liverpool have won their last four in a row at home, with a goals record of 12-1 and Marcelo Bielsa’s side, who have conceded the second-highest number of goals in the division, could struggle to contain them.
Leeds probably have enough talent in their squad to fight off the threat of relegation, but this has been a difficult second season in the top flight and they are still only five points clear of the relegation zone, having played more games than three of the four teams below them.
Given Liverpool’s desperation not to drop a single point, it might be possible for some visiting teams to put them under pressure by defending in-depth and attempting to go deep into the match without conceding a goal. But that isn’t the way that Leeds play their soccer and I expect this to be an entertaining game with plenty of goals, most of them for Liverpool.
Wolves v Watford, 2021-12-26
With the season approaching the halfway point, we’ve accumulated plenty of evidence about the 20 Premier League teams, and much of it can be gleaned from the league table.
That is certainly the case with Wolves. The West Midlands team is tenth in the table, a solid position. Yet they’ve managed to reach that position with the second-worst goalscoring tally in the division. Their position has been built almost entirely on their defensive record, which is the third-best.
So you generally know what you’re getting when Wolves play, which is good news for punters, though not so good for Wolves fans who have seen only two goals scored in their last four home games, which doesn’t do much to keep you warm on a cold Sunday afternoon.
The good news for manager Bruno Lage and the Wolves fans is that Boxing Day’s visitors have one of the leakiest defences in the Premier League. Watford have shipped 31 goals so far, the fourth-worst total in the division, despite having played fewer games than most of their rivals. We can’t promise this will be a goals fest but Wolves should be able to grind out a win here.
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