This week was our annual introduction to the ‘Festive Football Calendar’. This weekend will bring the third game of the week for all of the Premier League teams and it’s the start of a period where teams from the English top flight will play 8 games in just over a month.
Liverpool have cemented their lead at the top of the league with wins over Brighton and local rivals Everton. Leicester City are hot on their heels with seven wins in a row. The league leaders face each other at Leicester’s King Power Stadium on the 26th December in a game that will have a big impact on the title race.
The Manchester Derby is the pick of this weekend’s action.
Watford vs Crystal Palace
Saturday 7th December 10AM
We’re going to first turn our attentions to a London Derby as Roy Hodgson’s high flying Eagles head across the city to face Watford.
Former Crystal Palace stalwart Hayden Mullins will be in the hotseat for Watford after Quique Sanchez Flores’ dismissal. The Spaniard became the second manager sacked (his second time sacked by Watford) by the Hornets through the first 15 games of the season.
Palace are in 7th position in the league after making a strong start to the season. Roy Hodgson once again showing his managerial nous. They have bounced back from a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Liverpool with victories over Burnley and Bournemouth in the last week. Their run of games over the Christmas period looks favourable and they will be well in the mix regarding European spots come January.
Looking ahead to this game and Crystal Palace look a good value bet. Their odds of +215 with CanPlay are tempting and on current form we can only really see one winner. However, we do have to take into account the ‘new manager bounce’ at Watford. Mullins’ inherits a decent squad that can trouble the best of teams when on form. The pressure is on to stave off relegations but the 2019 FA Cup finalists have plenty in their locker. They’re listed as favourites at +135.
On the balance of judgement, we’re tipping Crystal Palace to get their third win in a row.
Manchester City vs Manchester United
Saturday 7th December 12:30PM
Legendary Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson once described Manchester City as ‘noisy neighbours’. He advised United fans to ‘put your television on and turn it up a bit louder’. At this stage they’re getting pretty hard to ignore. Record-breaking league wins and Derby dominance has made the last few seasons less than enjoyable for the red side of the city.
So, can Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men put one over on their rivals and claim a bit of pride back for the Manchester United faithful? The answer is probably no but there’s probably no better time to face Pep Guardiola’s side than now.
Manchester City have slipped from their usual high standards and the Premier League title already looks out of their grasp for this season. A centre-back partnership of John Stones and Fernandinho is not title winning material and an injury to striker Sergio Aguero doesn’t help either.
Class will always shine through though. Guardiola can call upon Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, David Silva, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling in the middle third. Their United counterparts just don’t compare. City to win at -335 with CanPlay is a good bet.
Both teams have been leaking goals of late. Over 3.5 goals at +125 is our tip for the Saturday evening kick-off.
Newcastle United vs Southampton
Sunday 8th December 9AM
A bit of a relegation six-pointer on Sunday morning. Southampton (17th) have to travel up north to face perennial relegation candidates Newcastle United.
Newcastle have performed better than expected under Steve Bruce and wins over Manchester United and Spurs have kept the Toon faithful happy. The fact that their front three of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Joelinton have only contributed one goal between them makes their run of form all the more surprising.
Southampton are on their own decent run of form with back-to-back wins over fellow relegation candidates Norwich and Watford in their last two games. Danny Ings has scored four in his last four appearances. The former Liverpool man is +135 with CanPlay to continue that streak on Sunday.
In the match betting we’re tipping Newcastle to grind out a result in front of their home fans. Newcastle to win by one goal at +315 is an appealing bet with CanPlay.