Boxing Day Football Predictions and Preview
December 21, 2018
Christmas day is over, you’re full of turkey and exhausted from your festive celebrations, so what better way to celebrate boxing day than with a whole heap of Premier League fixtures?
Boxing day football has grown to become a bit of a national holiday for us football fans, who are treated with a late Christmas present of a full fixture list – what more could you ask for?
Whether you are making the journey down to the ground or staying cosy indoors, this is arguably the most exciting day of the Premier League. Check out our previews and predictions for the boxing day football fixtures!
Fulham vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Both these ‘modern’ looking sides headed into the new season full of promise, but only one has delivered so far. Wolves currently find themselves hovering around the Europa League spaces and have played some expansive football in the process.
In contrast, Fulham sit at the bottom of the table, but new arrival Claudio Ranieri has uplifted spirits. The Tinkerman will need to rejuvenate his back four, if he is to keep the Lily Whites up this season, as they are currently leaking goals for fun.
Heading into this fixture, Raul Jiminez will be fancying his chances to get on the scoresheet, but Fulham need to start capitalising on their home games. I’m not expecting a clean-sheet, but Fulham should get over the line. If not, they will be in big trouble.
Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Wolves
Burnley vs Everton
Burnley look a shadow of their former selves in comparison to last season. Scoring goals is a rarity for the Clarets, who don’t look threatening going forward. Their current top scorer is their centre half, who has found the back of the net just three times. Turf Moor has often been considered a tough away day for visitors, but teams have found it easy to pick apart Burnley in the midfield this season.
Marco Silva has been living up to expectations, with Europa League qualification looking very likely for the Toffees this season. Gylfi Sigurdsson and Richarlison have been the key influencers of the Portuguese’s project, who epitomise the silky, fluid football that Silva is looking to implant at Goodison Park.
Going forward, Everton should have too much firepower for Burnley to handle. Sean Dyche would take three points over any other Christmas present this festive period, but it would be considered an upset if they were to do so on boxing day. Don’t expect a goal-fest, but instead, a tense and nervy showing.
Prediction: Burnley 0-2 Everton
Crystal Palace vs Cardiff City
Despite the high expectations that were built up over Palace during pre-season, they have disappointed this season. They always seem to have too much about themselves to avoid relegation, but not enough to push near the top end of the table. Without a clinical striker up top, they hold very little threat to their opposition.
Anything but relegation will be considered a success for Cardiff City. The Bluebirds were favourites amongst the Premier League relegation odds but have fought hard early in the season to break away from the bottom three. Neil Warnock has been a manager for the best part of twenty-six-years and survival would be considered one of his greatest ever achievements.
Palace have performed better on the road recently and Selhurst Park has not been the most intimidating place to visit this season. Cardiff like to operate quite robustly, and they don’t tend to roll over easily.
Prediction: Palace 1-1 Cardiff
Leicester City vs Manchester City
The magic of the 15/16 season may have fizzled off on the pitch for Leicester City, but they still remain a solid Premier League side. New signing James Maddison has been a revelation for the Foxes, quickly asserting himself as the dictator behind the lone striker. A lack of Jamie Vardy goals has hurt Leicester though, who have been so reliant on the Englishman over the last two years. Claude Puel has managed to strike an equal balance in his side, who look destined for a mid-tabled finish.
City, on the other hand, have continued to blow opponents out of the water and are the top scorers in the league. No Kevin De Bruyne? No problem. Pep Guardiola has the luxury of a wealth of attacking options at his disposal, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Bernado Silva firing on all fronts. The thought of their Belgian maestro, who has now returned from injury, joining in with this current side is a scary proposition.
Guardiola’s side are made favourites regardless of their opposition and this is no different. It takes a brave punter to go against City, especially when they have Liverpool just in their sights.
Prediction: Leicester 0-2 City
Liverpool vs Newcastle United
A fixture that has certainly seen its fair share of thrillers. When the red side of Merseyside takes on the Toon, sparks usually fly. Both these sides will be desperate for a win, but for very different reasons.
Rafa Benetiz will expect a hero’s welcome on his return to Anfield, but there is no room for sentimentalism. His Newcastle side are in a relegation scrap and although games like this won’t finalise their fate, the Magpies will take points anywhere they can get them. Their victory at Huddersfield was badly needed and it provided some breathing space for Newcastle over this festive period.
The Spanish manager won’t be expecting any favours though, as Liverpool continue their search for their first ever Premier League trophy. Jurgen Klopp’s team finally looks well equipped across all areas of the park to go the distance and they will be hoping to extend their unbeaten run against Newcastle. Mohammed Salah is in red-hot form and the Reds possess too much firepower for the Toon too handle.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle
Manchester United vs Huddersfield
Only time will tell as to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will bring to the table at United, but the majority of fans seem happy with his appointment. Attacking football is on the top of every Red Devil’s christmas list and the Norwegian appears to be prepared to deliver on this front.
The likes of Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are being tipped to flourish under a new manager, will all the attacking stars start together at last? When the baby-faced assassin steps out onto Old Trafford, it will be a moment to savour amongst fans. If he can get the frontmen firing again, they should shoot up the table and with all due respect, he would not have picked a different opponent to face on his home managerial debut.
The Terriers historically survived last season but are currently in a rut this year. David Wagner is struggling to find goals in a squad that is depleted in quality, despite their defence looking rather solid. At a rejuvenated Old Trafford, I am expecting only one outcome.
Prediction: United 2-0 Huddersfield
Tottenham Hotspur vs Bournemouth
Arguably the pick of the fixtures on boxing day is the clash between Mauricio Pochettino and Eddie Howe. Both managers have been lauded with compliments this season, as both men have had their teams playing some scintillating stuff.
Despite no summer arrivals, Pochettino has managed to mount a title charge with the Lilywhites, who operate in such an expansive and fluid manner. Harry Kane has been at the forefront of the goals, with the likes of Dele Alli and Son Heung-min providing their clinical services just behind. It won’t be an easy task to get their hands on the title, but with every win, their hopes stay alive.
Further down south, on the coast, Howe equally continues to exceed expectations, with the Cherries secretly keeping an eye on a Europa League qualification place. Callum Wilson has been the star man so far, with his lethal form earning him a spot in the latest England squad. He hasn’t been the only impressive performer, with David Brooks and Ryan Fraser also showing their worth.
This fixture possesses all the right ingredients for a real christmas cracker – will both sides stay loyal to their philosophies, or will they try and counter their opposition’s weaknesses? I’m expecting both teams to score, with Tottenham making more of their chances.
Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Bournemouth
Brighton vs Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has been quickly forgotten on the red side of North London, as Unai Emery has quickly got the Gunners firing again. Arsenal operate look much more defensively resilient under the Spaniard’s leadership, who likes to set up with two holding midfielders. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the name on everybody’s lips though, having already reached double digits in the league. For the first time in a while, the Emirates is the home to a balanced looking side, who are defensively assured and confident up top.
In East Sussex, Brighton fans have been making an equal amount of noise for their own manager, Chris Hughton. The Seagulls continue to fly high under their beloved Irishman and despite survival still being the number one priority, they look reasonably comfortable for the foreseeable future. With their solid spine of Lewis Dunk, Davy Propper and Glenn Murray, Brighton function as a well-oiled machine, with a fair amount of quality across all departments in their squad.
Arsenal are terrific going forward but a current injury crisis at the back will have Murray licking his lips. Emery will want to finish 2018 on a high, but I’m expecting a little stumble in Sussex, as this fixture list will seriously test the depth of the new manager’s squad.
Prediction: Brighton 1-1 Arsenal
Watford vs Chelsea
Despite an emphatic start to the Premier League season, Watford have recently faltered a little. Looking at their squad, there is enough talent for the Hornets to comfortably claim a top half finish, but they do often embark upon inconsistent runs. Javi Garcia likes to put emphasis on his team’s midfield, where he often deploys five across the park.
Chelsea, under Maurizio Sarri, also play with a similar outlook. Now operating with a back four, the Blues consistently start with three central midfielders and two energetic wingers. The Italian has cooked up a formula that compliments the likes of Eden Hazard and Pedro, but he still requires a clinical number nine upfront. This could potentially be Chelsea’s downfall this season, who don’t look as emphatic as the current two leaders in Liverpool and City.
This fixture, though, is certainly an intriguing one. Chelsea will attempt to control possession, but Watford’s high pressing could pose some threats to the Blues. I’m expecting a tense affair with some thrills, spills and a christmas upset. If the Watford players are in the mood, they hold all the right tools to hurt Chelsea in the final third.
Prediction: Watford 2-1 Chelsea
Here’s where you can find all the bookmakers offering Boxing Day betting odds
As an experienced sports writer, Josh has been published across various different platforms, writing about his beloved club Manchester United and other footballing topics. He also covers a range of other sports, specialising in UFC and Formula One.