The English Premier League is back following the World Cup, and we have round 17 on the menu. Right now, punters all around the globe can’t wait for the games to kick in because we all know that Boxing Day matches usually bring lots of interesting stuff.
Arsenal VS West Ham
The Gunners are without Gabriel Jesus, which is a massive blow for them. The Brazilian scored five, assisted for five goals, and participated in many more. For sure, he has been the pivotal reason why the Gunners played so well this year, and Mikel Arteta will have a hard time finding a replacement.
Arsenal is topping the standings, having just one loss this year, while having a perfect score at home, six games, six wins, 19-7 goal difference. We saw that Bukayo Saka plays in excellent shape, and he should be the leader of the team with Jesus out.
On the other hand, we have West Ham, who struggles to deliver and to play consistent football. They are near the relegation zone, losing four of the past five EPL games. Apparently, playing Europe and all the other competitions this year is problematic for the Hammers.
Given all the circumstances, even though Arsenal has problems in the attack without Jesus, they should be able to win this event. Home-field advantage and their quality are going to prevail here.
Pick: Arsenal 1/2 at BetXchange
Leeds United VS Manchester City
The Peacocks oscillate a lot in their performances, with them playing in waves and thus posting mixed results. Right now, this unit is slightly above the relegation zone, having two points more than the first team under the red line, trying to get away. Leeds has massive problems with injuries and absences, often not having the leading players available.
Manchester City doesn’t have such problems. Pep Guardiola has two lineups available all the time, and when one player has to pause, the replacement will cover that up. The Citizens had a big clash in the Carabao Cup with Liverpool, beating them 3-2 and showing that the pause didn’t cool their machinery.
Leeds’ games are with plenty of goals, seven of the last eight were with both teams netting and over 2.5 hits. As for City, we don’t need to say anything about their gameplan. That’s why we believe that this game should see them winning and covering a 1.5-goal handicap.
Pick: Manchester City -1.5 4/5 at BetXchange
Manchester United VS Nottingham Forest
The Red Devils looked terribly bad in some of their friendly internationals during the World Cup. There is an alibi for this due to the inability to have all the players available. But in a 2-0 win over Burnley in the Carabao Cup, we didn’t see them impression anyone, despite having the entire unit.
Nottingham was better than Blackburn in the same competition, beating them 1-4. Lingard and the crew routinely beat the rivals, but we believe that this is just another of their sparks that won’t last for too long.
Winning here is imperative for the Red Devils, not only because they play at home but due to the race for the Champions League spot. Also, their rivals are too weak.
Pick: Manchester United 1/3 at BetXchange
Aston Villa VS Liverpool
The Villains have the best goalkeeper of the last World Cup, yet will that help them against Liverpool? The way Darwin Nunez plays, not having a goalkeeper in front of the goal, wouldn’t cause any problems for the hosts. Now to stop joking, Aston Villa. The former European champs are in the middle of the standings, though, not too far from the red zone.
Liverpool is out of the title race, with 15 points fewer than Arsenal. However, the Reds need to find a rhythm. Otherwise, they won’t reach the UEFA Champions League next year.
They should win this one, despite all the doubts, because overall, they have a better team and are coming off a much-needed pause during which Klopp had to improve certain matters.
Pick: Liverpool 3/4 at BetXchange