ARTETA PLUCKS THE CHERRIES
Although Mikel Arteta was appointed Arsenal manager before their clash with Everton, he was not officially in charge and after watching his new group play out an incredibly drab draw at Goodison Park, he may have been glad he wasn’t.
However, with the former Manchester City assistant now installed at the helm and ready for business, his first act will be to take an ailing Arsenal to the seaside and return them to the top half of the table.
The Gunners come into this clash lying in a forgettable 11th place and at this point of the campaign, the table does not lie, which means that Mikel Arteta is going to have to start spouting some home truths.
For too long, the bigger names have coasted at the club and as a consequence they have undergone a period of regression, one that has seen them removed from the conversation of Champions League qualification.
Not only that, but at this rate, they are in severe danger of not even qualifying for next season’s Europa League and a return to not just winning ways, but actually stringing together a positive run of results, is the new primary objective.
With opponents Bournemouth having lost five of their last six league outings, this might be the perfect game for Mikel Arteta to take the reigns and if you think that Arsenal win away from home, you can back them at 2.00.
Summary: Arteta off the mark with a perfect start
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLVES
After going eleven Premier League games unbeaten, Wolves finally saw their impressive run come to an end and after conceding a last minute winner to Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, the question is how would they bounce back?
Thankfully for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, they bounced back in ideal fashion and after getting the better for Norwich at Carrow Road, they are firmly in the race to finish in the Europa League places at the end of the season.
However, there is one small plot twist and that is the fact that the West Midlands outfit are in the Europa League Round of 32, while should they go all the way and win this season’s edition of the competition, they will find themselves in the Champions League instead.
The Champions League is where Manchester City currently find themselves and they would love nothing more than to finally get their hands on such a coveted trophy, especially as manager Pep Guardiola has not lifted it since 2011.
With the Premier League title race all but over, you do wonder if City are now going to go full steam ahead for European dominance and although that will more than likely be the case, they are still a force to be reckoned with domestically.
Not only that but they still need to make sure that they finish in the top four as a Champions League insurance policy and therefore, backing City to win at odds 1.36 may not make you rich, but will be good Christmas accumulator fodder.
Summary: City tame the Wolves
CAN BRENDAN OUTFOX THE REDS?
With Liverpool currently 10 points clear at the top of the table and also having a game in hand over Leicester, you would have to consider this season’s title race all but run and because of that, it’s a shame this Boxing Day clash won’t be such a cracker.
There’s no doubt that it will still be a highly entertaining clash, but for all the neutrals sitting at home and passing around the Quality Street, they would be hoping that the stakes were just that little bit higher.
The stakes were certainly high for Liverpool in their last outing, as they conquered the world in Qatar and the fact that those Middle Eastern exploits took place at such an awkward point of the season, may just play into Leicester’s hands.
That said, this Liverpool team seem to find a way to roll over absolutely everyone at the moment and a Leicester win at the King Power Stadium might just be a step too far. However, the double chance does look like a viable option and at odds of 1.73 looks very tempting.
Summary: Leicester given a double chance