The Premier League Returns with Boxing Day Games
The Premier League returns on Boxing Day after spending a month off for the FIFA World Cup. OKBet fans still on a World Cup fever will find more exciting matches here.
Compelling storylines that took over the Premier League during the first three months will take on a different form once the games continue. Moreover, the league sent an astonishing 134 players to Qatar.
The fortunes of some teams may turn southward due to the long break, but others are on the up after some much-needed rest. Which clubs will benefit the most from the month-long World Cup break? Let’s analyze the upcoming matches and find out.
Aston Villa and Liverpool don’t have to worry about World Cup exhaustion. The Lions and the Reds only sent five and seven players, respectively. However, this game has a slight edge due to the visitors’ hunger to start the season strong.
Liverpool want to win more games after stumbling out of the gates. The break gave Mohammed Salah and their other key players some much-needed rest. They also used the Qatar mini-camp to fix issues that caused their inconsistent start to the season.
Meanwhile, the Claret and Blue want to start Unai Emery’s reign with a win against the struggling giants. The former Arsenal coach will likely use this game as a barometer to see which players can thrive under his system.
Another interesting talking point for neutrals is whether Emery will use Emiliano Martinez. Dibu will likely be rested after handing the World Cup trophy to Lionel Messi. However, his complicated history with Emery—which dates back to the Spaniard’s disappointing stint at Arsenal—may change things.
With Emery expressing his interest in Morocco shot-stopper Yassine Bounou, the team Villa Park will see may not be Emery’s ideal XI. With this in mind, expect Liverpool to come away with the three points as their Boxing day gift to their fans.
Recommended bet: Liverpool -0.5/1 @ 1.94
Arsenal are another surprising story this season. Their place atop the league table proves Mikel Arteta’s great work on transforming the side with young stars and entertaining, attacking football. They are second in shot-creating actions (57) and goals scored per 90 minutes (2.29).
Gabriel Jesus’ injury will leave the Gunners without a dangerous man up front. However, Bakayo Saka’s impressive World Cup should see him get a new contract and create in front of an adoring Emirates crowd.
Meanwhile, West Ham are in a tight relegation scrap. While the team made a lot of shot-creating actions, their expected assisted goals per 90 shows the team’s need for a creative outlet. Lucas Paqueta will look to continue his strong World Cup performance against Arsenal, but the Hammers backline should do more than count solely on Declan Rice.
Unless David Moyes bolstered their approach over the past month, expect the Gunners to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders.
Recommended bet: Arsenal 1X2 First Half @ 2.14
This match is one neutral football fans should watch if they have the chance. These two clubs have been playing phenomenal football before the World Cup break, and both will want to continue their hot form on Boxing Day.
Like Arsenal, Newcastle United shocked Premier League teams with their high-quality play this season. They are the fourth-best among the top-flight clubs in xG per 90 minutes, thanks to Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson. Kieran Trippier and Allan Saint-Maximin are also thriving as creators under Eddie Howe.
Meanwhile, Leicester found their footing after a horrible start to the season. They won six of the last ten games and are seventh in goals per 90 minutes at 1.53. James Maddison is unstoppable for the Foxes with his seven goals and four assists in 13 starts. Their defense has also been solid, keeping a clean sheet for every win and draw they got.
The odds point at the Magpies easily winning this game. However, Leicester are anything but an easy match. Expect goals to come from both sides as the game boils down to a draw.
Recommended bet: Draw @ 3.40
Brentford’s Moneyball approach to football continues to work dividends as they sit in the top half of the Premier League table. However, they face a tough test when Tottenham visit the Gtech Community Stadium on Boxing Day.
The overall value of Brentford’s squad is less than Spurs, but they continue to find success at the top half of the table. Thomas Frank is pulling the best out of his players, and the Bees’ aerial dominance will have Tottenham trying to push the ball through the middle. Ivan Toney is among the league’s most dangerous forwards with ten goals.
Meanwhile, Tottenham will be looking to use their dribbling to get past their hosts. The fact that Spurs are fourth despite them still adjusting to Antonio Conte’s way of play is a testament to the team’s quality.
Harry Kane will want to forget his World Cup blunder and score against Brentford. Other World Cup returnees like Rodrigo Bentancur, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Son Heung-min will be ready to play. World Cup winner Cristian Romero may also line up for Conte.
This game has the potential to swing either way. Spurs are one of the most potent attacking outfits in the league, averaging 14.53 shots per 90. However, they will have a tough time breaking through Brentford’s likely 3-5-2 formation. They should be able to score a goal by the second half.
Recommended bet: Tottenham -0.5 @ 1.97
These are the most intriguing games you should watch and bet on when Premier League football returns on Boxing Day. These eight teams have exciting storylines, and it will be fun to see them play out on the pitch.
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