Merry christmas folks. Its the season of fun, love, happiness and of course festive Premier league football. At a time all the other major leagues in Europe take a break for the winter, the Barclays English Premier leagues serves us a mouth watering four games in nine days to further lighten up our Christmas spirits. Little wonder it is the most loved and most popular league in the world. Tonight I shall be dissecting the festive games of Arsenal, chelsea, Manchester united and of course champions Manchester city and also take a look back at how they have fared during the festive period in the last five seasons to give us an idea of how well they normally cope with this hectic schedule.
I start of with Arsenal. The gunners bounced back In style from their Capital one cup humbling at the hands of Bradford to trash Reading 5-2 at the Madejski stadium on monday. They start their festive calendar tomorrow the 22nd with an away game at Wigan, followed by a tasty boxing day London derby with West Ham at home(postponed). Again at home on the 29th they host Newcastle and then finish things of with an away game against Southampton on new year’s day. I expect Arsenal to take at least 10points from these games and if they get the maximum 12, I won’t be surprised. In the last 5 seasons during the festive period, Arsenal have played 28 games, winning 17 with 8 draws, 2 losses and scoring 48 with 21 goals conceeded. Not too bad if you ask me.
After losing ‘that game’ to Corinthians, what better way for Chelsea to respond by handing out a football lesson to Leeds in the capital one cup to kill off any excuse of fatigue and jet lag. Their festive calendar starts with a home game to Aston Villa on the 23rd a team they lost to at home on new year’s eve last year followed by tricky away fixtures to Norwich on boxing day followed by a trip to goodison park to square off against Everton on the 30th. They end the busy period at home to QPR in a west London derby on the 2nd of January. I see Chelsea picking 9 points from these games. Norwich and Everton away are potential banana skins. Chelsea’s festive record in the last five seasons reads played 27, won 11, drawn 12, lost 4, scoring 39 goals and conceding 29.
Champions Manchester city bounced back from derby dissapointment to beat Newcastle 3-1 away last week. They play their next game tomorrow at home against Reading followed by two consecutive away games to Sunderland on boxing day followed by a trip to Carrow road to play Norwich on the 29th and they end the festive period on new year’s day with a bruising encounter at home to stoke. I see City picking up the maximum 12 points in what looks like winnable games. David Silva looks back to his best and Aguero is still scoring. In the past 5 seasons, city’s festive record reads played 27, 13 wins, 8 draws, 6 defeats, 54 goals scored and 32 conceded.
Table topping Manchester united normally get their groove on during the festive period. They boast the best festive period record in the top flight with 19 wins from 25 games, drawing 2. Losing 4, scoring 55 goals and conceding just 14. The red devils sure do like their christmas. This period has often time proved to be the catalyst they use to launch their title challenge although they surprisingly lost on Sir Alex’s 70th birthday on new year’s eve last year when they were shocked 3-2 at home to Blackburn with our dear Yakubu Aiyegbeni grabbing a brace on that unforgettable day. They start the festive period with a very tricky fixture away to swansea on the 23rd, followed by two home games to Newcastle on boxing day and West Ham on the 29th. On new year’s day they end their festive fixtures at home to Reading. Tricky game away to Swansea might be key. If Utd come out of that one unscathed, then I see them picking the maximum 12 points.
So far this season in the Epl, a total of 169 games have been played with 116 of those ending in wins, 53 have ended in draws, 477 goals have been scored, 82 clean sheets have been kept, 4 hattricks have been scored and the bad boys have picked up 516 yellow cards and 23 red cards.
Quote of the week: ‘He is very intelligent, he has charisma, his players play for him, and he is a good looking guy. I think I have most of those things, too, apart from his good looks.
‘He’s got a confidence about himself, saying “We’ll win this”, and “I’m the Special One”. I could never come out and say we’re going to win this game. It’s maybe a wee bit of my Scottishness?
Sir Alex Ferguson on Jose Mourinho. Admiration for his possible succesor perhaps? Let me know what you think. Footynyx