Boxing Day Special – Watford ready to give Chelsea the Blues

Watford can add to Maurizio Sarri’s problems on Boxing Day by beating out-of-sorts Chelsea at Vicarage Road.

The Blues’ 12-match unbeaten start to the campaign now seems a long time ago as the 2016/17 Premier League champions have lost three of their last six games including a 1-0 defeat to mid-table Leicester City on Saturday.

The Hornets have been inconsistent this season but their excellent 2-0 victory at West Ham means they have taken seven points from their last three encounters and they are 5.05 to extend that fine run by beating Chelsea.

Signs of life at rock-bottom Fulham

Fulham kept their first clean sheet of the season at Newcastle United on Saturday and have a good chance of making it two in a row as they host Wolves on Wednesday.

Wolves have only scored 19 goals in their first 18 top-flight games of the campaign, the worst record of the leading 13 teams in the Premier League.

Claudio Ranieri’s team remain at the foot of the table heading into the Boxing Day fixtures but a victory against Wolves at Craven Cottage could lift them out of the drop-zone.

The Cottagers are 3.60 to keep a clean sheet and 3.25 to win a match between two teams that were promoted from the Championship last season.

Back Burnley to get something

There have been signs of improvement at Burnley recently but Saturday’s defeat at Arsenal means they remain in the bottom three and the Clarets will be desperate to pick up something from their match against Everton at Turf Moor.

The Toffees were dreadful in Sunday’s 6-2 home defeat to Tottenham and need to bounce back, with only one win in their last seven.

Sean Dyche’s side did beat Brighton 1-0 in their last home encounter but Everton may be a tougher proposition and a draw seems the most likely option at 3.50.

Michael Keane, who moved to Goodison Park from Burnley for £25million 18 months ago, will be particularly keen to do well against his former team.

Palace can build on memorable win

Crystal Palace’s amazing 3-2 victory at Manchester City not only threw the title race wide open, but also handed a massive boost to Roy Hodgson’s team, who are surely too good to be involved in a relegation battle this term.

They had only scored 14 goals in their first 17 games before Saturday’s tumultuous victory but can make it three victories in a row by beating Cardiff City at Selhurst Park.

The Bluebirds’ deficiencies were laid bare by Manchester United on Saturday and Neil Warnock’s side have been dire on the road all season – they have picked up just one point from their eight away fixtures.

A routine 2-0 victory for the Eagles at 8.25 will keep the home team’s momentum going and lift them further away from trouble.

Champions to get back on track

The wheels have not come off Manchester City’s season but two defeats in their last three Premier League games has certainly come as a major surprise.

Pep Guardiola’s team have not kept a clean sheet in their five league games in December after only conceding five goals in their first 13 matches.

Leicester City will be on a high after winning at Stamford Bridge but Claude Puel’s side are very inconsistent and have not recorded back-to-back victories since September.

The Foxes have been very tight defensively recently, only conceding six goals in their last nine matches, so it may not be easy for Guardiola’s team to get back on track.

Last week’s EFL Cup quarter-final at the King Power Stadium finished 1-1 before Guardiola’s team won the penalty shoot-out and it may be another tight encounter on Wednesday with a 1-0 victory for Manchester City available at 8.75.

No happy return for Benitez

It will be an emotional day for Rafa Benitez as the current Newcastle United manager returns to Liverpool where he was boss between 2004 and 2010.

However, it is extremely difficult to see how Benitez’s side can stop the unbeaten Reds, who head into the fixture four points clear at the top of the table and on course to win their first top-flight title since 1990.

Jurgen Klopp’s all-conquering team have only let in seven goals all season in the league while the Magpies have found the net just 14 times, only Huddersfield have scored fewer goals.

Benitez’s sides are always well-organised and they have only conceded seven goals and kept four clean sheets in their eight matches away from St James’ Park this term.

Liverpool seem certain to ruin that miserly record though and are 1.64 to score in both halves at Anfield on Boxing Day.

United to enjoy Old Trafford romp

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could not have wished for a better first home game in charge of Manchester United as struggling Huddersfield Town are the visitors to Old Trafford.

United produced a vibrant performance on Saturday when they brushed Cardiff aside 5-1 and, with the shackles off, they could run riot against the Terriers.

If United score an early goal, as they did against the Bluebirds, it could easily be another rout against a Town team that have lost their last five games.

A 3-0 victory for Solskjaer’s team should not be ignored at 7.50.

Tottenham too good for Cherries

Tottenham completed the double over Bournemouth last season, winning 1-0 at Wembley and 4-1 at the Vitality Stadium and were amazing on Sunday at Goodison Park.

Everything points to another Spurs victory this time although the Cherries did at least bring an end to a poor recent run of six defeats in seven matches by beating Brighton 2-0 on Saturday.

Eddie Howe’s team may score at Wembley but a Spurs victory and both teams to score should be taken up at 2.40.

Cagey affair on the south coast

Finally Arsenal have stuttered of late and their defensive problems were ruthlessly exposed by a previously shot-shy Southampton team earlier this month.

Brighton have been excellent on home soil since their promotion to the Premier League and, after only losing four times at the Amex Stadium last term, have been beaten just twice in eight home matches this season.

It looks set to be a tight encounter but the Seagulls can claim another three points on Wednesday at 5.10.