The Premier League returns with some epic Boxing Day fixtures. Leaders Arsenal resume their title hunt with a home clash against West Ham while Man City will hope to keep pace with a trip to Leeds United.
Very few people would have expected Newcastle United to be among the top-three at this stage and the Geordies will hope to prove they are no flash in the pan when they travel to Leicester City.
The relegation scrap will begin in earnest as Wolves (vs Everton on 26 December), Saints (vs Brighton on 26 December) and Forest (vs Man United on 27 December) all aim for a positive restart.
Here are some of the top fixtures to look out for over the next few weeks. Catch all the action live on SuperSport and Showmax Pro.
BRENTFORD V TOTTENHAM
Brentford are winless in their last 13 meetings with Tottenham in all competitions (D4 L9), since a 2-0 home win in the second tier in March 1948. Tottenham have kept a clean sheet in each of their last five meetings with Brentford in all competitions (W3 D2), with Lloyd Owusu in a 1998 League Cup match the last Bees player to net against them.
CRYSTAL PALACE V FULHAM
Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last five Premier League meetings with Fulham (W3 D2) since a 4-1 home loss in October 2013. Fulham have failed to score in three of their four Premier League away games against Crystal Palace (W1 D1 L2), with the exception being a 4-1 victory in October 2013.
EVERTON V WOLVES
Everton have lost their last two Premier League games against Wolves, as many as they had in their previous 12 (W5 D5). They last lost more consecutively against them between 1957 and 1960 (a run of five). Wolves won this exact fixture 1-0 in March last season – only once have they won consecutive league visits to Everton, doing so in February 1960.
LEICESTER CITY V NEWCASTLE
After winning just three of their first 17 Premier League meetings with Newcastle (D5 L9), Leicester have now won nine of their last 13 against the Magpies (L4). Newcastle have won two of their last three Premier League games against Leicester (L1), as many as they had in their previous 10 (L8). They’ve won three of their last five at the King Power Stadium, but have lost the other two by 5-0 and 4-0 scorelines.
SOUTHAMPTON V BRIGHTON
Southampton have lost just one of their 10 Premier League meetings with Brighton (W3 D6), going down 2-1 at home in March 2021. Brighton have never lost away to Southampton in the Premier League, winning one and drawing four of their five visits to St Mary’s in the competition.
ASTON VILLA V LIVERPOOL
Aston Villa have lost eight of their last nine Premier League meetings with Liverpool, with the exception being a 7-2 win in October 2020. No Premier League fixture has been won by the away side as often as Aston Villa vs Liverpool (21), with Liverpool’s 15 wins at Villa Park their most at a single away ground in the competition.
ARSENAL V WEST HAM UNITED
Since losing three in a row against West Ham between February 2006 and April 2007, Arsenal have lost just two of their last 28 Premier League games against the Hammers (W21 D5). Indeed, the Gunners have only beaten Everton (35) more often than West Ham (34) in the competition.
CHELSEA V BOURNEMOUTH
Chelsea have lost three of their five Premier League home games against Bournemouth (W2) – since the start of 2015-16, they’ve only lost more at Stamford Bridge against Liverpool and Manchester City (4 each). Bournemouth have taken seven points from their last three Premier League games against Chelsea (W2 D1), more than they had in their first seven against them (W2 L5).
MANCHESTER UNITED V NOTTINGHAM FOREST
27 December 2022
Manchester United have won their last six meetings with Nottingham Forest in all competitions, with this their first game against them since an 8-1 win at the City Ground in February 1999.
Nottingham Forest have lost four of their five Premier League away games against Manchester United, with the exception being a 2-1 win in December 1994 as a promoted side. That victory accounted for 50% of the total goals Manchester United conceded at Old Trafford in the league that season.
LEEDS UNITED V MANCHESTER CITY
Having remained unbeaten against Man City in their first season back in the Premier League in 2020-21 (W1 D1), Leeds lost both meetings with the Citizens last term by an aggregate score of 11-0. Man City won this exact fixture 4-0 in April last season, last winning back-to-back away league games against Leeds in September 2000.
The Premier League will provide another feast of fixtures in January, including two derbies – Manchester and North London.
ARSENAL VS NEWCASTLE UNITED
Both clubs have confounded expectations with Arsenal sitting pretty on top of the Premier League table with a five-point lead over Manchester City, while Newcastle are in third following their excellent run of five wins in a row leading up to the World Cup break.
The Magpies have only lost once this season – away at Liverpool in August – and are playing some excellent football with Brazilian Bruno Guimaraes a revelation as a playmaker and Miguel Almiron banging in the goals.
CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY
Graham Potter has endured a difficult start to life at Chelsea with three Premier League defeats in a row going into the World Cup break, including a 4-1 loss at his former side Brighton.
While the visit of Manchester City will be daunting, it also provides Chelsea with the chance to make a statement early in the New Year and could be the springboard to regaining their form.
MANCHESTER UNITED VS MANCHESTER CITY
A Manchester Derby to ignite passions in that part of the world and likely provide the neutral with a feast of goals if recent clashes are anything to go by.
There have been 14 goals scored in the last two matches between the pair, including a remarkable 6-3 win for City in October in which both Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scored hattricks.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR VS ARSENAL
A north London derby to follow the Manchester version and this one will be equally fierce, with Spurs fans no doubt bringing at the sight of Arsenal at the top of the league.
Arsenal won this fixture 3-1 in October and will be favourites again, especially as Spurs’ form was indifferent going into the World Cup with three defeats in their last five Premier League games.
But form usually goes out the window on Derby day and a strange quirk of this contest is that it has been won by the home side in each of the last seven meetings.