Premier League Boxing Day Preview

    The famous Premier League Boxing Day is lying ahead as we take a look at the three most exciting match-ups to look forward to on Sunday.

    Manchester City vs Leicester City

    Etihad Stadium plays host to a blockbuster Boxing Day encounter between Premier League pacesetters Manchester City and mid-table Leicester City.

    Pep Guardiola’s men have hit the ground running in the Premier League since a shock 2-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace in late October, putting together eight league wins since.

    The reigning English champions followed up a 7-0 toppling of Leeds United in their most recent top-flight home outing with a 4-0 thrashing of relegation-battling Newcastle United last time out.

    Sat three points clear of closest followers Liverpool, Man City can ill-afford a slip-up against a Leicester side they’ve defeated ‘to nil’ in both previous Premier League H2Hs. 

    However, the scars of an embarrassing 5-2 reverse in their most recent top-flight showdown at the Etihad back last season are still fresh.

    Leicester will be keen to evoke those memories and build on an overwhelming 4-0 home triumph over Newcastle last time out.

    Brendan Rodgers’ men are hunting back-to-back Premier League victories for the first time since October, though it would require beating their underwhelming recent Boxing Day record.

    They’ve only won one of their last 11 Premier League fixtures on Boxing Day (D2, L8), though that solitary success came at the expense of Man City of all teams.

    Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace

    Tottenham and Crystal Palace go head-to-head in an all-London Premier League match-up at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Spurs have gone unbeaten in consecutive domestic outings (W1, D1) since a Covid-19 induced forfeit against Rennes marked a premature ending to their disappointing Europa Conference League campaign.

    What’s more, new boss Antonio Conte has inspired a mini-revival in north London, with the Italian navigating his side to a five-match undefeated streak in the Premier League (W3, D2).

    Tottenham’s noticeable upturn in form under Conte’s stewardship has seen them reduce the gap on fourth-placed Arsenal to six points, with Spurs also boasting three games in hand over cross-town rivals. 

    So a potential victory over another cross-city opposition would be a massive boost to their top-four pursuit, though it’s worth noting that they’ve lost five of their last six top-flight London derbies.

    By contrast, Crystal Palace haven’t lost any of their last four Premier League encounters against London sides (W1, D3).

    The Eagles have netted seven goals in their last three all-London top-flight fixtures, as many as they managed across their previous ten such contests combined.

    Current manager Patrick Vieira won all eight Premier League games on Boxing Day during his illustrious playing career at Arsenal, which should inspire his bid to win his first-ever such showdown as a manager.

    Norwich City vs Arsenal 

    Relegation-threatened Norwich City and fourth-placed Arsenal are set to meet at Carrow Road in contrasting circumstances.

    Only a month ago, both sides were in a similar situation, fighting tooth and nail to escape from the bottom.

    However, while the Gunners have staged a jaw-dropping comeback to defy the expectations and mount an unexpected top-four challenge, the Canaries are facing another season-long fight against the drop.

    After beating Southampton 2-1 on his Premier League debut on the touchline, new manager Dean Smith has failed to win any of his last five league games in charge (D2, L3).

    As a result, Norwich look to be on course of justifying their reputation as the archetypal ‘yo-yo’ club as they head into proceedings rooted to the foot of the table. 

    Meanwhile, Arsenal have strung together three Premier League wins following a run of successive league defeats to move to the last Champions League spot.

    Traditionally impressive on Boxing Day, the Gunners have only lost two of their 23 Premier League fixtures on this date (W14, D7), last suffering defeat in such a contest in 2015.

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