Premier League Guide to the Christmas and New Year’s Games
December 22, 2016 in Sports News
Christmas is around the corner and in European soccer that means that the Winter break arrives to most of the continent’s Leagues, with England’s Premier League being the most prestigious one that stays in action.
The main problem is that teams may find it difficult to keep the players focused due to the festive environment surrounding them. Also many players can start to feel the fatigue because a good portion of the tournament has already been played and they could certainly use the resting time to reach the end of the season more refreshed.
In the end, despite the many inconveniences faced by the clubs, the games are played and often end up being decisive for the definition of the league’s title.
Here’s a look at the situations the top teams in the Premier League face as the winter break is reached:
Chelsea (1st – 43 Points)
Antonio Conte’s team reaches the Christmas break with a good chance to increase the advantage in the standings. Although many pundits point out that Chelsea lacks bench depth, something that may end up hurting the team by the season’s end, there is no doubt that Chelsea is right now the firmest candidate to win the league.
On December 26 the team plays Bournemouth, five days Stoke City visits Stamford Bridge and on January 4 the team travels to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham Hotspur. The last match of this tight schedule comes four days later when an F.A Cup home game against Peterborough United takes place.
Liverpool (2nd – 37 Points)
Jurgen Klopp’s boys will have the chance to reduce distances with leaders Chelsea, but they will have to do that without the help of Philippe Coutinho, their big star of the moment. On December 27th they play Stoke City, four days later they host Manchester City, while on January 2nd Klopp and the boys visit the Stadium of Light to play Sunderland. Their F.A Cup match on January 8 will be at home against the winner of the Plymouth and Newport game.
Manchester City (3rd – 36 Points)
Pep Guardiola, who has publicly accepted that he’s having a hard time adjusting to the Premier League, will now have to deal with a busier than normal schedule during the holiday season.
His team will visit Hull City on December 26, Anfield on the 31 and on January 2 they host Burnley before playing their F.A Cup match against West Ham at London Stadium.
Arsenal (4th – 34 Points)
The Gunners, after two straight defeats badly need to win the Christmas break games if they don’t want to lose any more ground on the standings. On December 26 Arsene Wenger’s team hosts West Bromwich Albion, on January 1 Crystal Palace visits Etihad Stadium and only two days later Arsenal travels to Bournemouth. On January 7 Arsenal plays Preston North End on the Road for the F.A Cup
Tottenham Hotspur (5th – 33 Points)
The Hotspur has had an irregular first part of the season, although in recent weeks the club’s form has improved. On December 28 the team visits Southampton, on January 1 travels to Watford and on January 4 plays the toughest match against Chelsea at White Hart Lane. On January 8 the Hotspur hosts Aston Villa for the F.A Cup.
Manchester United (6th – 30 Points)
Jose Mourinho’s team is going through a very positive stretch right now, after winning the last three matches of the Premier League. The club will try to keep the good vibes going during these next few weeks.
On December 26 Sunderland visits Old Trafford, five days later it’s the turn for Middlesbrough, while on January 2 the Red Devils will travel to play West Ham. The team’s F.A Cup game will be played at home on January 7 against Reading.