Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Premier League Preview - Big Four Boxing Day Clashes

Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all passed their first test of the busy Premier League Christmas period. Arsenal managed to see off Tottenham, Manchester United defeated Everton thanks to a moment of madness from Steven Pienaar after Everton had battled well, Chelsea got a great result at Blackburn and Liverpool comfortably saw off Portsmouth. Elsewhere the surprise package of the season Manchester City drew at Aston Villa.

For the boxing day games, Premier League leaders Arsenal have on paper the hardest test facing a trip to Portsmouth, who will be all out to get a good result after that collapse at Liverpool. Arsenal will be missing Eboue, Walcott and Van Persie. Footy Focus prediction - score draw.

Liverpool go to Derby knowing they simply have to keep winning to have any chance of being in the title shake-down. It really is a game they should win if they have any pretence of being title challengers. Reports are Rafael Benitez will shuffle his pack with Voronin, Lucas, Babel and Aurelio amongst the likely incomers. Footy focus prediction - comfortable Liverpool win.

Premier League title-holders Manchester United go to Sunderland, for what is also on paper a relatively easy game. Roy Keane's side will give their all and fight to the death but I really can't see past a comfortable Manchester United win. For me they are still the team to beat and are looking very, very mean at the moment. Footy Focus prediction - a slightly bruising but comfortable win for Sir Alex's men.

Chelsea face a potentially tricky home game to Villa, especially given the extent of their injury problems. Drogba and Terry are longer term casualties, with now possibly Cech also out. Chelsea have to take great credit for the results they've been getting despite missing two of their main players, and their absence has to show at some stage. It won't be tomorrow though, with a Footy Focus prediction of a narrow home win.

I note Sir Alex see's the race for the Premier League as a four horse race. I think he's right about three of them but until Liverpool start taking points off their rivals they ain't gonna be in
there at the death.


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