Merry Christmas everyone, hope the holiday finds you all well. Tomorrow will be a fantastic day, with a mountain of televised games all day long to distract you from friends and family. Enjoy it. Liverpool/Blackburn preview up later today, in between family and enough American sports to shake a stick at.
Tottenham v Aston Villa (8am, FSC): 8 game winless streak for Villa, and despite the tough loss at Newcastle, Spurs have been better of late. Tottenham 2-1
Chelsea v Reading (8am, Setanta): Chelsea's been leaving them late recently, with close wins over Wigan and Everton, but a 2-0 scoreline again looks foreseeable. Chelsea 2-0
West Ham v Portsmouth (8am): Portsmouth’s been tough to beat all season, and if West Ham can pick up a win here, it will show a lot about how well Curbishley will do in turning around the season. West Ham 2-1
Bolton v Newcastle (10am, FSC): Should be a tight and even entertaining affair, with Bolton’s propensity for close wins and Newcastle’s recent run of good form regardless of their long injury list. 2-2
Manchester United v Wigan (10am, Setanta Xtra): Wigan’s struggled for results recently despite decent form, and Manchester United should be able to take advantage. United 2-0
Everton v Middlesbrough (10am): Ugh, Middlesbrough on the road. Plus, Everton’s getting healthier with Arteta back in the squad, and Johnson finally among the goals last week after a long drought. Everton 2-0
Sheffield United v Manchester City (10am): Wouldn’t bet against Sheffield continuing to earn points. 10 in the last 5 games, and they could have picked up more at Portsmouth, where they went head early only to lose. Sheffield 1-0
Watford v Arsenal (12:30pm, FSC): Honestly, I’d imagine this will be a lot like Watford’s game at Liverpool. One team clearly on top, but Watford keeping it closer than it probably should be, mostly thanks to Ben Foster. After last week’s demolishment of Blackburn, Arsenal may well have more goals in them, but Aidy Boothroyd’s team defends desperately. Arse 2-0
Charlton v Fulham (3pm Wednesday, Setanta): The game of musical chairs continues. So Les Reed’s out, and Alan Pardew moves into the job that his replacement at West Ham held last season. Charlton’s preparing for life in the Championship, and it looks likely that Pardew will be the manager for the long haul. He’ll have the season to start to mold the squad in his vision, and if he keeps them up (which isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, yet), even better. But next season will be when he completely shapes the team as he wants it, and it will probably be while competing for promotion.
As for tomorrow's game, throw previous form out the window. One, it’s a London derby. Two, there will be the effect of having a new manager. Probably contentious, possibly entertaining, and seemingly destined for a draw. 1-1