English Premier League: Boxing Day cheat sheet

Dec 24, 2013 |
We all know Boxing Day was created to house a full-slate of Premier League football and this season is no different. All 20 of England's top-flight clubs take the field but one match played in Manchester stands head and shoulders above the rest as a proper gift to football fans.

Hull v Manchester United (+600, +320, -182)

Why bet Hull: The Tigers have won just once in their last seven matches, but have played well enough to get draws in three-straight - two of which were away fixtures. Hull is a tough squad and fairly tight defensively, but Robbie Brady appears set to miss the holiday schedule, which will hurt the Tigers' attack.

Key players out/doubtful: Robbie Brady, Sone Aluko, Stephen Quinn

Why bet Manchester United:
The Red Devils have won back-to-back matches and looked excellent in defeating West Ham in their last effort. Robin van Persie's absence from the squad hasn't been felt as Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and teenage-sensation Adnan Januzaj have carried the scoring load.

Key players out/doubtful: Marouane Fellaini, Robin van Persie, Nani, Michael Carrick

2012-13 fixture result: N/A

Key betting note: United's last six Premier League matches all surpassed the 2.5 goal total.

Aston Villa v Crystal Palace (-110, +250, +350)

Why bet Villa: Once upon a time, Christian Benteke was the toast of Aston Villa. The Belgian has disappointed so far this season, but summer signing Libor Kozak has shouldered the brunt of the scoring responsibility. The big Czech has four goals on the campaign and pulled the side even with Stoke last weekend, before Villa lost. They are slumping of late, but a still a dangerous attacking side that will look ascend the table against the promoted Eagles.

Key players out/doubtful:
Ashley Westwood, Jores Okore

Why bet Palace:
Palace has three wins in their last six, but still sit in the relegation zone in the table. The side has played miles better under Tony Pulis, but are coming off a tough defeat at the hands of a game Newcastle side last time out. Still, nobody expected Palace to make any real noise in the league, so staying up is the main go0al and some good results over the packed holiday schedule will do wonders.

Key players out/doubtful:
Marouane Chamakh, Jerome Thomas, Adlène Guédioura

2012-13 fixture result: N/A

Key betting note: Crystal Palace has just one win in eight away matches this season.

Cardiff v Southampton (+230, +230, +138)

Why bet Cardiff: Cardiff started the season quite well, but that's in the past as the side has hit a bit of a rough patch of late. They were dominated against Liverpool and Luis Suarez in their last match and need to get back on track before they joint fellow promoted club Crystal Palace in the relegation zone. Home to a slumping Southampton is a great start.

Key players out/doubtful:
Craig Bellamy

Why bet Southampton: The wheels have most certainly fallen off the Southampton bandwagon of late as the club has plummeted to ninth and have not posted a win since Nov. 9. The rock-solid defense that carried in them in the early stages of the season has looked pedestrian at best of late. They should play a cagey, tight game away at Wales and try to nick a goal on the counter attack to get a positive result.

Key players out/doubtful: Victor Wanyama, Guly, Artur Boruc, Daniel Fox, Pablo Osvaldo

2012-13 fixture result: N/A

Key betting note: Seven of Southampton's eight away games have resulted in Under the 2.5 goal total.

Chelsea v Swansea (-300, +450, +900)

Why bet Chelsea: Not the greatest of results for the Blues in Monday's marquee matchup with Arsenal. A lifeless 0-0 draw was uninspiring, but the London club is different at home. Jose Mourinho will look extend his much-ballyhooed unbeaten run at Stamford Bridge. The Swans are a hobbled side and could be in tough on this trip to London.

Key players out/doubtful: Ryan Bertrand, Marco van Ginkel

Why bet Swansea:
Swansea still hasn't hit its full potential this season and could have a hard time doing so with star-player Michu now sidelined for an extended period. The side played well versus Everton Sunday, but a Ross Barkley free kick dashed any hopes for points. Michael Laudrup always his club inspired, but will be attempting to punch above their weight for weeks to come.

Key players out/doubtful:
Michu, Nathan Dyer, Álvaro, Michel Vorm

2012-13 fixture result: Chelsea 2, Swansea 0

Key betting note: Chelsea is unbeaten in 17-straight league matches at Stamford Bridge.

Everton v Sunderland (-275, +425, +850)

Why bet Everton:
Because they are the best story of the season. Still on one loss, new manager Roberto Martinez has the club playing some fantastic football and Sunday's win at Swansea moved the Toffees up to fifth place, level on 34 points with Chelsea. RB Seamus Coleman has been a key component to the side and had the opening goal in Wales Sunday.

Key players out/doubtful:
Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Koney, Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert

Why bet Sunderland: Poor Sunderland. The Black Cats are stuck on two wins and sit bottom of the table with 10 points. But all things considered, three draws in their last five matches isn't terrible considering the way the season started. They'll be in tough at Goodison, but Sunderland is a much better side than what we've seen.

Key players out/doubtful: Wes Brown, Keiren Westwood, Carlos Cuéllar

2012-13 fixture result: Everton 2, Sunderland 1

Key betting note: The Black Cats haven't scored in their last six away matches.

Newcastle v Stoke (-133, +280, +425)

Why bet Newcastle: Much like Everton, the Magpies are another good story this season. The side was dismal last season despite bringing in a number of talented players - particularly from France's Ligue 1. This season, all of Alan Pardew's pieces seem to have fallen in place and the team is playing some sparkling football. Yohan Cabaye returned to the XI last weekend and instantly made his presence felt with the game's opening goal.

Key players out/doubtful: Cheick Tioté, Ryan Taylor

Why bet Stoke: Per the norm, the Potters are always a tough side. They have two draws and two wins in their last four games and sit 10th in the table. Gangly striker Peter Crouch is playing well and leading the line with some confidence having picked up a goal last weekend and also has four assists in his last seven matches.

Key players out/doubtful: Matthew Etherington, Robert Huth

2012-13 fixture result: Newcastle 2, Stoke 1

Key betting note: Newcastle is unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches at St. Jame's Park.

Norwich v Fulham (+105, +250, +300)

Why bet Norwich: The Canaries have a tough hill to climb to get into the top 10, but their recent form has been promising and they'll wish for that to continue at the friendly confines of Carrow Road. They have one win and a pair of draws in their last three games and a slumping Fulham side will be the perfect opponent to keep the mood festive in East Anglia.

Key players out/doubtful:
Elliott Bennett, Alexander Tettey, Anthony Pilkington

Why bet Fulham: Probably not the best time. The Cottagers have been routinely destroyed in the league and recent performances have been no different. They've lost their last two outings by a combined scored of 8-3 as they've given up four goals to each of Liverpool and Manchester City. This is a side that is destined for the cellar.

Key players out/doubtful:
Brede Hangeland, Matthew Briggs

2012-13 fixture result:
Norwich 0, Fulham 0

Key betting note: Fulham has allowed at least three goals in its last three matches away from home.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Brom (-188, +333, +600)

Why bet Tottenham:
In two games (one EPL, one league cup) with Tim Sherwood at the helm, Spurs have looked more and more dangerous on attack - something that was sorely lacking with Andre Villas-Boas at the helm. A 3-2 victory away to Southampton on the weekend was massive for the side and, surely, their confidence. Still, Spurs need to figure out a way to win at White Hart Lane. They're still leaky on the back line at times, but attacking football could be back in at Tottenham.

Key players out/doubtful: Paulinho, Jan Vertonghen, Younes Kaboul, Andros Townsend

Why bet West Brom: The Baggies have been abysmal of late and, like Southampton, have two points from the previous six matches. A 1-1 draw versus Hull snapped a dreadful four-match losing skid and they'll look to prey on a dismal home team. Spurs rank 13th in home form and have just 11 points from eight matches at White Hart Lane this season.

Key players out/doubtful:

2012-13 fixture result:
Spurs 1, West Brom 1

Key betting note: West Brom hasn't won in seven-straight league matches.

West Ham v Arsenal (+550, +300, -163)

Why bet West Ham:
The Hammers are home. That's about all there is to say about this side. They show no inspiration moving the ball forward and injuries remain a huge concern for the club. They were picked apart easily by Manchester United in their last effort and the second-place Gunners will look to do the same.

Key players out/doubtful:
Mladen Petric, Winston Reid, Ricardo Vaz Te, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, James Tomkins

Why bet Arsenal:
The Gunners face big games over the holidays and must get results to keep up the pace with Liverpool and Man City. Jack Wilshere will miss the second of a two-match ban, but Theo Walcott should get the nod in his spot. The North London club will look for full points coming off a 0-0 draw with Chelsea Monday.

Key players out/doubtful: Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo, Laurent Koscielny, Mikel Arteta

2012-13 fixture result: West Ham 1, Arsenal 3

Key betting note: The Hammers have lost eight of the previous 10 Premier League meetings with Arsenal.

Manchester City v Liverpool (-133, +320, +360)

Why bet Manchester City:
Their cannot be a club as feared at home as much as Manchester City at the moment. In ALL of Europe. They have a full 24 points from eight matches at home and have scored 35 goals while conceding just five. They look vulnerable on the road, true, but the Etihad has become a fortress. The Aguero injury could be pause for concern, but when considering just how good Negredo has been, the Argentine's absence won't be overly noticeable.

Key players out/doubtful:
Sergio Agüero, Stevan Jovetic, Matija Nastasic, Micah Richards

Why bet Liverpool:
Their cannot be a player as feared in the entire universe as much as Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan's goalscoring record is well documented, but it seems to be infectious for the entire side. Jordan Henderson's performance in the thumping of Cardiff was a thing of beauty, while Coutinho and Sterling continue to impress as the supporting cast of Liverpool's talisman. Whatever happens, Sunday's marquee fixture should be electric.

Key players out/doubtful: José Enrique, Daniel Sturridge, Steven Gerrard

2012-13 fixture result: Manchester City 2, Liverpool 2

Key betting note: Man City has scored at least three goals in its last six matches at the Etihad Stadium.

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