It’s time for some Christmas punts from our man Cheeky! If you like all his picks, Paddy Power’s Acca Insurance will refund all punters whose 4+ bet accumulators are let down by just a single selection.
Leicester City v Manchester United
The Foxes will be bang up for this after that win over Spurs but United have been perfect away from home so far this season in the Premier League and will know a win moves them up to second in the table. United’s recent run (six wins from their last seven) has seen them emerge as shock title challengers and they could be worth backing to claim another huge win on the road. Boxing Day should be tasty. I’ll be out of course for my customary two Scotch eggs (medium rare) and 20 pints of Coors Light.
Betting: Manchester United to win & both teams to score at 3/1 (Paddy Power)
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
On the Beeb this of course. Must be getting on for 30 years since the last time a top-flight game in England on Boxing Day went out live on terrestrial TV? Palace conceded seven goals in a home match for the first time in their entire history at the weekend and there surely has to be a response from Roy Hodgson’s men. Villa have found a bit of form recently though and the hosts will be hoping to nail down a huge three points at HQ having lost three of their last four on their own patch.
Betting: Aston Villa to win at 10/11 (Paddy Power)
Fulham v Southampton
The Saints are unbeaten in six away from St Mary’s, but Oriol Romeu is suspended and Danny Ings is a big doubt after limping off against Manchester City. Fulham have really tightened things up at the back too so a punt on the draw (Fulham have drawn their last three) could be the shout in west London. Is it just me or hAs online shopping been a proper gamble this year? I had some obscene craic with the postman earlier in the week too:
Postman: (struggling to scan my parcel in the rain) “It doesn’t like the cold wet weather!”
Me: (blatant false laugh) “Ha ha just like the rest of us then!”
Seriously. What have I become?
Betting: 1-1 draw at 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Arsenal v Chelsea
Arsenal have now taken just five points from the last 30 available and things are looking bleak. Am genuinely curious what Senor Arteta was talking about when he was firing those stats about in the aftermath of Saturday’s loss to Everton? Here’s a stat. The Gunners have only scored three goals since the October international break, which is borderline pathetic. Arsenal are in the midst of their worst start to a top-flight campaign in almost half a century and Chelsea can pile the pressure on by winning at the Emirates. The Blues had won eight of their 10 matches before back-to-back defeats against Everton and Wolves. They got back on track against West Ham however and can keep pace with the top four with another win on Saturday.
Betting: Chelsea to win to nil at 13/5 (Paddy Power)
Manchester City v Newcastle
Man City will bang relentlessly on the Toon door and almost certainly find the net as when you’re averaging about 47 shots per game, eventually something tends to give. Without Callum Wilson and his eight goals, the Mags would surely be mired in the relegation zone. Instead they are mid-table and four points ahead of Arsenal, but should be put to the sword here against a City side desperate not to lose any further ground on leaders Liverpool.
Betting: Manchester City (-2) to win at evens (Paddy Power)
Sheffield United v Everton
The Blades have looked much improved in their last two fixtures but heading into Christmas with just two points from 14 matches means they are even money favourites now to finish rock bottom this season. Everton won’t be winning the title any time soon but have enough quality to grind out a welcome win for Carlo Ancelotti.
Betting: Everton to win & Under 2.5 goals at 16/5 (Paddy Power)
Leeds United v Burnley
Never mind that 6-2 defeat at Old Trafford, Marcelo Bielsa’s devotion to his full-throttle style of play is total. Burnley will come to scrap and spoil, and it’s worth noting that ‘Under 2.5 goals’ has copped in five of their last seven outings. And even though Leeds have struggled when teams set up to frustrate them at Elland Road, the romantic in me fancies them to give the Clarets a bit of a hiding here.
Betting: Leeds (-1) to win at 2/1 (Paddy Power)
West Ham v Brighton
The Irons had lost just two of their last 11 prior to that 3-0 pumping at the hands of Chelsea last Monday, but have been putting plenty of the ‘lesser’ teams away this season and I like Sebastien Haller, recently inducted into the Thunderb**tard Volley Club Hall of Fame, to score first against Brighton.
Betting: Haller to score first at 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Liverpool v West Brom
Liverpool oozed class in the way they dismantled Crystal Palace last time out, and Klopp’s men are now out on their own at the top of the table. However there’s no suggestion they are now going to idle away from the field like they did last season. 2020/21 has been a bit of a grind to this point, with the Reds having to contend with a Python-esque injury list. Big Sam suffered a horror start as Baggies boss at the weekend and while he has never been afraid of hyperbole or the odd pint of wine, he’s going to have to turn water into Shiraz to keep this lot up. The Reds are unbeaten in 66 league games at home, and even in the brazen insanity that we know to be the year 2020, it’s just impossible to make a case for the Baggies snapping that proud run.
Betting: Roberto Firmino to score first at 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Wolves v Tottenham
If a week is a long time in politics then a couple of weeks is f**king ages in football. On the evening of December 6, after a pretty comfortable north London derby win, Spurs were being talked up as legit title contenders who were sitting proudly at the top of the table. They’ve picked up one point from a possible nine since and old club Manchester United are now ahead of Jose Mourinho in the Premier League table with a game in hand. Spurs are Spurs of course and could rock up here and win, but Wolves normally run a tight ship at Molineux, shipping just seven goals in seven matches at home. With this in mind, the ‘unders’ looks a proper nap.
Betting: Draw & Under 2.5 goals at 13/5 (Paddy Power)
Odds correct at the time of publication. 18+ Please Gamble Responsibly. Visit begambleaware.org