New Customer Opening Account Offers

18+, Ts & Cs Apply. New Customers Only.

Christmas predictions for the current Premier League Top 6

There were various reasons Liverpool failed to win last season’s Premier League title: Steven Gerrard’s slip, Jordan Henderson’s suspension, the dodgy defensive record.

football on pitch in stadium

But another factor was their unfortunate Christmas schedule, when Brendan Rodgers’ side were forced to travel to Manchester City and Chelsea within the space of three days. They were Liverpool’s hardest two games of the season on paper, and they lost both 2-1 against their two title rivals. A different schedule, and things could have been very different.

This season’s schedule isn’t so tough on any major side. However, it’s interesting that, over these four games, the majority of sides have either three games at home, or three games away – which can make a significant difference, when factoring in travelling times and the subsequent impact upon preparation for each game.

Here’s the current top six’s Christmas fixtures assessed, with a prediction of their overall points total.


Stoke (away), West Ham (home), Southampton (away), Tottenham (home)

Chelsea’s opening match in this sequence is on Monday night away at Stoke, which is a significant setback. Not only is the Britannia a difficult away trip, it also means Chelsea have four games in 11 days, rather than four in 13, like the majority of other sides.

Mourinho has a squad deep enough to cope, although Chelsea’s success this season has largely been about keeping the same starting XI together whenever possible. Squad rotation hasn’t been a major part of Mourinho’s approach so far – that will change. Expect the likes of Filipe Luis (three starts so far), Ramires (three), Andre Schurrle (four) and John Obi Mikel (two) to feature more prominently.

This is quite a tough run – West Ham should be beaten convincingly, and a trip to St Mary’s looks less testing than it did a month ago. But Stoke are difficult opponents and a trip to Tottenham on New Year’s Day won’t be easy either. Chelsea’s advantage over the chasing pack could become more slender over Christmas, although they should still be top.

Target: 10 points. Failure: 6 points. Prediction: 8 points


Crystal Palace (home), West Brom (away), Burnley (home), Sunderland (home)

Compared to their title rivals, Manchester City’s fixture list looks extremely pleasant – four bottom-half sides, including three at the Etihad. Manuel Pellegrini’s side will hope to take maximum points.

The problem, in truth, isn’t about the quality of opposition, but about Manchester City’s lack of strikers. Sergio Aguero will miss the entire festive period, Edin Dzeko could be in the same situation, while Stevan Jovetic will only return midway through. This means Samir Nasri and perhaps James Milner acting as City’s central striker, with youngster Jose Pozo helping out when possible.

This means City might find it difficult to break down deep defences – and, against inferior sides, that will be their main challenge. All four games are winnable, but it feels like they’ll drop points somewhere.

Target: 12 points. Failure: 6 points. Prediction: 10 points


Aston Villa (away), Newcastle (home), Tottenham (away), Stoke (away)

Manchester United have three difficult away trips, and a home match against a Newcastle side in good form – so it seems unlikely Louis van Gaal will extend his impressive six-game winning run into the new year.

Van Gaal will be particularly fearful of injuries considering his problems so far. Without Champions League matches, and going out of the Capital One Cup at the first opportunity, Manchester United aren’t accustomed to games coming thick and fast this season, and this could prove a struggle. None of the matches are particularly scary, but none are nailed-on United victories either.

United have constantly been bailed out by David De Gea recently, and that can’t continue forever. There’s a decent chance they’ll be defeated somewhere along the line here, perhaps at Spurs or Stoke.

Target: 10 points. Failure: 5 points. Prediction: 7 points


Leicester (home), Chelsea (away), Arsenal (home), West Brom (home)

West Ham have a mixed bag over Christmas – two easy home matches against relegation-threatened sides, but also two London derbies against quality opopsition. Sam Allardyce will expect at least two victories, and might make life difficult for Chelsea, although any points there would be an unexpected bonus.

The game against Arsenal on the 28th could make or break West Ham’s Christmas fixture list – and will probably decide whether they remain ahead of the Gunners after this four-game period. Allardyce often causes Wenger problems: expect West Ham to be at their most direct to unsettle Arsenal. They should be capable of nicking a draw.

Target: 8 points. Failure: 4 points. Prediction: 7 points


Liverpool (away), QPR (home), West Ham (away), Southampton (away)

This is a tricky fixture list for Arsenal – particularly the two away matches towards the end of the run, against surprisingly high-flying sides. Arsenal would expect to win those matches at any other point in the season, but they often suffer from fatigue during this period, and Arsene Wenger won’t be relishing this run. At least travel won’t be a particular problem after the visit to Anfield – a London derby on the 26th is quite useful in that respect.

QPR should be an easy home victory, but the other three matches will be tough. Southampton will be knackered by the 29th, but Liverpool won’t roll over easily this weekend, and West Ham’s aerial bombardment might cause Arsenal problems too.

Target: 10 points. Failure: 5 points. Prediction: 8 points


Everton (home), Crystal Palace (away), Chelsea (home), Arsenal (home)

Sadly, Southampton’s bubble has already burst. In their past five league matches they’ve collected just one point, and Ronald Koeman is suffering from injury problems ahead of this weekend’s game against Everton. Dusan Tadic, Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle could all be out with muscular injuries, which shows how the recent run of fixtures has taken its toll. Four games over 13 days could prove disastrous.

This isn’t a great fixture list. Three good sides are visiting St Mary’s – and Southampton have generally found life difficult against big teams over the past 18 months – while the trip to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day isn’t desirable either. The Selhurst Park pitch is currently in terrible state, and due to be relaid after that match – Southampton’s passing football will suffer.

It’s tough to see Southampton remaining in the top six after the Christmas period: fixtures, injuries and low confidence means anything more than one victory would be surprising.

Target: 7 points. Failure: 3 points. Prediction: 2 points

Predicted Premier League table by end of January 1st:

Chelsea 47
Man City 46
Man Utd 38
West Ham 35
Arsenal 34
Southampton 28 – with others having overtaken them.

Tweet this:

Has Michael’s crystal ball got it spot on? Join in the debate and help spread the word of his latest post by tweeting it to your followers…

[tweet_box]Christmas predictions for the current Premier League Top 6 by Michael Cox #premierleague[/tweet_box]

Posted in , Premier League, Zonal Marking | 0 comments

December 19th, 2014 by Michael Cox

Back to Top