Last Updated : 23rd December, 2019 By Steve A
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The day after Christmas may be called Boxing Day but really it's all about football. There are some important games being played in the Premier League that will affect teams both at the top and bottom of the table. Our preview looks at three of the top matches being played, including the return of the world champions.
Leicester City v Liverpool - 8pm
There are good weekends and then there's the kind of weekend Liverpool have just had. They were crowned champions of the world courtesy of beating teams from Mexico and Brazil. Meanwhile back home, second placed Leicester City lost at Manchester City to make it one point from two games. Liverpool now have a ten point lead and with a game in hand. A victory at the King Power Stadium would take them a giant step towards becoming champions of the World, Europe and England.
Liverpool should have a decent rest between getting home from Qatar and playing this game against Leicester City. Their form in the Premier League has been outstanding this season. Even when not playing at their best, they seem to find a way of getting a victory with plenty of late goals being scored. 25 out of 26 league games have been won, now that's domination!
Leicester are still in second and with an 11 point lead over fifth place, they are looking good for a place in the Champions League next season. The last two games have only produced a single point though and failure to win this match is likely to end whatever faint hopes they have of winning another title. They conceded three goals at the Etihad on Saturday and it could have been more.
They will continue to be dangerous with Jamie Vardy in such good form but Liverpool will know just how important a win in this game is. 13 points clear of Leicester with a game in hand and 14 over Manchester City from level games is the kind of lead will surely lead to that first Premier League title triumph. A win for Liverpool in a game that has over 1.5 goals scored in it looks a good bet to make.
Tottenham v Brighton and Hove Albion - 12.30pm
Sunday proved to be a bit of a disaster for Tottenham. They lost 2-0 to Chelsea, had Son sent off and had alleged racist behaviour from their fans. That defeat left them seventh in the table and six points adrift of the final Champions League place. They desperately need to bounce back with a win over Brighton and Hove Albion.
The loss was their first home defeat under Jose Mourinho and they can't afford another one here. This game is followed by a trip to Norwich City on the 28th, so there's a good chance here to get two straight wins and keep up the pressure on the top four. The absence of Son will be a blow for them considering his recent form but Tottenham have a strong squad and should be able to survive without him.
Brighton also lost at the weekend going down at home to Sheffield United. That left them in 13th place in the Premier League and only five points above the bottom three. There are two ways of looking at their current league form. Brighton fans will tell you they have only one loss in their last four games. Anyone else will declare that Brighton have only one win (away at Arsenal) in their last seven league matches. After this game, they host Bournemouth and Chelsea and a poor festive period would have them nervously looking over their shoulders.
The Seagulls had a famous home win over Tottenham earlier in the season. Fortunes for both clubs have changed since then and Brighton would probably be glad of a point from this game. Only one of their last eight away league games have been won and this looks booked for a home win with over 1.5 goals being scored in the match.
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Aston Villa v Norwich City - 3pm
It's been a difficult time for both of these clubs since being promoted to the Premier League. 18th placed Villa were the ones who went out and spent a fortune in the transfer market but were in the relegation zone for Christmas. Only a win over Norwich City will give them a chance of exiting the bottom three and they'll need Southampton (who they lost to at the weekend) to lose at Chelsea which is a distinct possibility. Norwich again gave away a lead at the weekend and are one from bottom in the table only above resurgent Watford on goal difference.
Villa have just 15 points from their 18 league games this season. The loss of midfielder John McGinn with a fractured ankle isn't going to help their cause a great deal. One bonus they do have at present is that Jack Grealish is in form with three goals in the last five Premier League matches. Villa have lost each of their last four league matches and seven out of the last nine. With form like that, a return to the second flight of English football is looking a distinct possibility.
Now they enter a crucial stage of their season. After this match against 19th placed Norwich City, they travel to bottom of the league Watford. A couple of wins would do them the world of good, some poor results would put them in even deeper trouble than they are now. A repeat of the 5-1 away win at Carrow Road would do nicely.
Norwich City have had plenty of recent chances to escape the bottom three. The weekend saw them lead Wolves and they could easily have been clear of their opponents by half time. However, they didn't take their chances, Wolves did and the visitors left with a 2-1 win. It's a familiar story for Norwich with leads given away against Arsenal, Sheffield United and Leicester City. Four leads and just two points earned is not the way to get out of the relegation zone.
Their away form this season is nothing to write home about with just five points earned so far. Not that their home record is that good either with no victory at Carrow Road since mid-September. One plus they have at present is that Teemu Pukki has started scoring goals for them again. He's always a dangerous player when in form and is likely to cause Villa's often shaky defence some problems. This is a difficult game to predict with neither side showing a great deal of consistency. A bet on both teams to score looks a good one to make though with Villa and Norwich having conceded 70 goals between in the Premier League this season.
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- Leicester City are unbeaten at home this season in the Premier League.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last Premier League games.
- Liverpool have won 25 of their last 26 games in the Premier League.
- Aston Villa have lost their last four league games.
- Both teams have scored in six of their last eight league matches.
- Norwich City have led in four recent games and not won any of them.
- Aston Villa won the reverse fixture against Norwich 5-1.
- There have been over 1.5 goals scored in each of the last five Brighton away league games.
- The last 17 Tottenham league and cup games have all had over 1.5 goals scored in them.
- Leicester City have only one point from their last two league games.