THE STRIKER Sun: Premier League Preview

THE STRIKER Boxing Day: Premier League Preview

Reading Time: 24 mins

BOXING DAY PREMIER LEAGUE: The Striker previews the packed Premier League fixture list on Boxing Day Sunday – all matches previewed with a recommended BETDAQ bet and extended match stats.


12.30pm As is tradition, we have a fantastic day of Premier League action on Boxing Day! All football bets are 0% Commission on BETDAQ Betting Exchange, we have some excellent games to look forward to. It’s been a very difficult time for the Premier League, but the league met on Monday to decide to keep playing where it is safe to do so. It seems obvious that we will have some issues with fixtures going ahead, but the show goes on. We start the day with Liverpool hosting Leeds after Liverpool lost ground in the title race last weekend. They start today three points behind Manchester City at the top, and they won’t want that gap getting any bigger. In fairness to Liverpool, Spurs put in their best performance of the season to get a 2-2 draw, and Liverpool should be able to bounce back to winning ways quickly against this average Leeds side. Leeds have had a very tough fixture list leading into Christmas – they’ve had to play Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal – and now they have to play Liverpool!

The market is fully expecting a comfortable home win here, with Liverpool trading as short as 1.17 at the time of writing! Even though Manchester City are playing at home today too, that’s the shortest price of the day. Given all the chances that Leeds have been conceding this season, it’s hard to see past anything bar a Liverpool win here. Liverpool have been creating a huge volume of chances this season – their average goals scored is actually 2.8 in the Premier League this season and their xG is 2.7 so basically in line more or less. That’s higher than Manchester City, who have also been excellent. As I said Leeds have had a tough fixture list, but they have conceded three to Chelsea, seven to City and four to Arsenal. It’s hard to see Liverpool not scoring quite a few goals here, and they can cover the 2.5 goal handicap. The 2.02 looks nice value to start the day.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Liverpool -2.5 goals to beat Leeds at 2.02 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Liverpool have won their last three Premier League home games against Leeds, netting 10 goals in the process. They last won more consecutively against them at Anfield in the league between 1973 and 1978 (6).
● Leeds have lost both Premier League meetings with Liverpool in a season on four previous occasions (1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-00 and 2002-03). Only in 1996-97 did the Whites fail to score in either meeting with the Reds in a season in the competition.
● Liverpool have only failed to score in one of their last 23 meetings with Leeds in all competitions, netting in each of their last 16 in a row since a goalless draw in April 1999.
● Liverpool have won their last five Boxing Day Premier League games by an aggregate score of 15-0, the Reds’ longest winning run on this day in their league history. At home, Liverpool haven’t lost on Boxing Day since 1986 (0-1 vs Man Utd), winning nine and drawing three since.
● Leeds are unbeaten in Boxing Day league games since 2014 (0-2 vs Wigan), winning three and drawing one since. This is their first such game in the Premier League since 2003, and a 0-0 draw with Aston Villa.
● This will be Leeds’ fourth consecutive Premier League match against a side starting the day in the top four of the table, the longest such run in the competition since Wolves also had a run of four between October/November 2010.
● Only Newcastle (41) have conceded more Premier League goals than Leeds (36) so far this season. The Whites have conceded 16 goals in their last four games in the competition, more than they had in their previous 13 combined (15).
● Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has won all four of his Premier League games on Boxing Day, with only Mauricio Pochettino (5/5) having a better 100% win rate among managers in the competition.
● Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has scored four goals in his last three Boxing Day Premier League games, netting braces against Swansea in 2017-18 and Leicester in 2019-20.
● Raphinha has been directly involved in 50% of Leeds’ 18 Premier League goals this season (8 goals, 1 assist). In the competition’s history, no player has been involved in a higher share for the club over the course of a single season than the Brazilian this term (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink also 50% in 1998-99).


12.30pm We have another game kicking off early as Wolves host Watford. As I write this, there must be a chance that this fixture is postponed given Watford had to call off their game with Burnley last Wednesday. They didn’t play last weekend against Crystal Palace, and it’s hard to know what the situation will be with the squad. Even if they field a team, it’s definitely a big disadvantage fitness wise and they are unlikely to have all the players available too. With all that in mind, Wolves come into this game odds on. Wolves have been able to play all their recent fixtures, and grinded out a nice 1-0 win away to Brighton and also grinded out a 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the weekend. They were lucky to beat Brighton as they conceded an xG of 1.84 and perhaps they were lucky to play Chelsea at the weekend as they had seven confirmed Covid19 cases in the camp. They asked for a postponement, but we found out later that the Premier League rejected their request.

It was a pretty quiet game with Chelsea not at their best, and while with Covid19 worries in the Watford camp this could be a good time to back Wolves, I wouldn’t be rushing to do that. It’s obvious that Wolves have been struggling recently, and they aren’t a side I’d want to back at odds on at the moment. They put in two very average performances against Norwich and Burnley for two 0-0 draws, and while they “only” lost 1-0 to Liverpool and Manchester City, they conceded much higher xG figures. They could have easily lost both games 3-0 or 4-0. Watford are in a relegation battle, and might be without some players here – but I’m not going to jump on Wolves. I feel the best play here is under 2.5 goals at 1.78. The Wolves v Chelsea game was very boring without too many chances, and if Watford set up to defend here Wolves could struggle to create chances – they haven’t exactly been creating many chances lately.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Under 2.5 goals at 1.78 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Wolves are looking to complete the league double over Watford for just the third time, previously doing so in the second tier in both 1991-92 and 2008-09.
● Watford have won just three of their 20 away league games against Wolves in their history (D11 L6). However, two of those victories have come in their three visits to Molineux in the top-flight (5-0 in December 1983 and 2-0 in October 2018).
● Wolves are unbeaten in their last six league games on Boxing Day (W4 D2) since a 3-0 home loss to Peterborough in 2012-13. However, Wolves are winless in their last seven such games in the top-flight (D2 L5) since beating Birmingham 2-1 in 1978-79.
● Watford are winless in their last eight away league games played on Boxing Day (D4 L4) since a 2-1 victory at Southend United in 1992-93.
● None of Wolves’ last seven Premier League games has seen more than one goal (3x 0-0, 2x 1-0 wins, 2x 1-0 losses). Only two sides have ever had longer such runs in the competition’s history – Crystal Palace (8 between November 1994-January 1995) and Burnley (9 between April 2015-August 2016).
● Watford are the only side without a Premier League clean sheet this season. They’ve conceded in each of their last 26 games in the competition, the longest run without a clean sheet by any club in the division since Burnley’s run of 29 games between November 2009 and August 2014.
● Watford have lost each of their last four Premier League games, last losing more consecutively within a single season in the competition back in April/May 2017 (6).
● In Premier League history, no manager has taken charge of more games on Boxing Day without ever winning than Watford boss Claudio Ranieri, with the Italian drawing three and losing four of his seven such games in the competition.
● Wolves’ duo Trincão and Adama Traoré have had more shots without scoring than any other player in the Premier League this season (21 each).
● Emmanuel Dennis has been directly involved in nine goals in his last seven Premier League games for Watford (5 goals, 4 assists), having a hand in 64% of the goals the Hornets have scored in these games (9/14).


3pm We have a very busy afternoon and we start the 3pm games with Burnley hosting Everton. Neither of these sides played last weekend because of the Covid19 outbreaks, but that was due to outbreaks in the opposition rather than Burnley and Everton. With the Premier League deciding to play on over the Christmas period, it’s likely most games will go ahead with under 23 players having to step in if they have Premier League experience. This is the most open game of the day betting wise, and it’s a massive game for both sides for different reasons. Everton may have managed to get a 1-1 draw against Chelsea in their last game, but they played pretty poorly. Chelsea bossed the game and created an xG of 3.54 in a game they should have won. There’s no doubt Rafa Benitez is under immense pressure, and a loss here would likely see him being very close to being sacked. Burnley are in the relegation zone, so every game they have is massive at the moment when they fighting to stay up.

Burnley will be looking at this fixture as an excellent chance to pick up points, and with Everton struggling it’s easy to see why they might get something from this game. It’s no surprise that we have an open market, but I’m not sure I would have Burnley as short as 2.54. Everton are trading 3.2 and I would have the sides closer together as around the 2.84 range. Apart from losing a massive game to Newcastle recently, Burnley have been grinding out results. They are having a lot of draws however, and I still feel the 2.54 looks too short. Having this game at home is an obvious advantage looking at their away performances, and we do know that Everton have been making a lot of mistakes recently. I feel this is a game for small stakes, and while the Burnley lay is very tempting – a small investment on the draw is my best bet at 3.25. It’s hard to see anything bar a close game here, and Burnley will keep things very tight.

The Striker Says:
One point win Draw at 3.25 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Burnley have won more Premier League home games against Everton (4) than they have versus any other side in the competition.
● Everton won the reverse fixture against Burnley 3-1 earlier this season, completing the Premier League double over the Clarets previously in 2014-15 and 2018-19.
● This is the sixth time Burnley and Everton have met in league games on Boxing Day, with the Toffees unbeaten in each of the previous five (W4 D1). One of these was a 5-1 victory at Turf Moor in 2018-19, their joint-biggest margin of victory away from home on Boxing Day in their league history.
● Burnley have won just one of their last seven league games on Boxing Day (D1 L5), beating Middlesbrough 1-0 at Turf Moor in 2016-17. Their last two such games have ended in defeat to Everton (1-5 in 2018-19, 0-1 in 2019-20).
● Everton are unbeaten in six Boxing Day Premier League games (W5 D1) since a 1-0 home loss to Stoke in 2014-15. The Toffees have kept five clean sheets in that run, shipping only in a 5-1 victory against Burnley at Turf Moor.
● Burnley have failed to score in each of their last three Premier League games, attempting just 25 shots (8.3 per game) in those fixtures, with just three of those on target (1 per game). The Clarets last went four league matches without scoring in November 2020.
● Everton have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games (D3 L7), beating Arsenal 2-1 at Goodison Park earlier this month. Away from home, the Toffees are winless in seven league outings (D2 L5) since a 2-0 win at Brighton in August.
● Burnley have won just once in the Premier League this season – of the 10 teams to have one or fewer victories before Christmas in the competition prior to this season, only West Bromwich Albion in 2004-05 avoided relegation.
● Everton have scored a league-high 76% of their Premier League goals in the second half of games this season (16/21), with no side netting fewer overall goals before half-time than the Toffees this term (5).
● Of managers to have taken charge of more than five Premier League games on Boxing Day, only Alex Ferguson (84%) has a higher win rate on the date than Everton boss Rafael Benítez, who has won six of his eight such games (75%).


3pm Leicester are another side that have had a lot of issues with Covid19, and they haven’t played since the 12th of December with a 4-0 win over Newcastle. Manchester City have had no issues, and they also beat Newcastle 4-0 in their last game too – although that took place last weekend. Obviously we know Leicester will have some fitness issues here, and Manchester City are trading as short as 1.22 to win here. City have been in superb form all season, and with Liverpool dropping points at the weekend against Spurs, they start the day with a three point lead. It’s going to be very hard to stop them winning another title – Liverpool look like the only side that will get close with Chelsea falling away in recent weeks. It’s hard to know what to expect from Leicester here to be honest, and I feel this situation is definitely a situation that needs small stakes.

Leicester closed their training centre for 48 hours after their outbreak, but then when they re-opened they had a number of players back in training who actually tested positive earlier when they played Napoli. With the new Premier League rules, it seems very likely that Leicester can field a team here. What that teams looks like is tough to know, but with City in excellent form and scoring goals for fun, this should be a very big score line if Leicester aren’t at their best. Even without the Covid19 drama, Leicester haven’t been at their best this season and they have been conceding too many goals. That’s always going to be a major issue playing a side like City, and City can cover the handicap here. The 1.6 -1.5 goals looks very appealing in what should be a smooth home win.

The Striker Says:
Two points win Manchester City -1.5 goals to beat Leicester at 1.6 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Manchester City have won eight of their last 10 Premier League games against Leicester (L2), including a 1-0 victory in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
● Leicester City won this exact fixture 5-2 last season, with Jamie Vardy netting a hat-trick. They won three league games in a row away against Man City between 1995 and 2003, but they’ve never won away against them in consecutive league seasons before.
● Man City are unbeaten in eight home league games on Boxing Day (W6 D2), winning each of the last six in a row. Their last such defeat came in 1996-97 against Port Vale in the second tier (0-1).
● Leicester have won just one of their last 11 Premier League games on Boxing Day (D2 L8), though that victory did come against reigning champions Manchester City in 2018-19.
● Leicester have lost three of their eight away league games this season (W2 D3), as many as they did in the whole of last season (W11 D5 L3). Both of the Foxes’ wins on the road this term have come against promoted sides (2-1 vs both Norwich and Brentford).
● Man City’s Riyad Mahrez has been on the losing side in all five of his Premier League appearances on Boxing Day – the worst 100% loss record on the day in the competition’s history. His only previous such game with Manchester City was in 2018-19, which ended in defeat to former club Leicester.
● Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has never scored in six Premier League appearances on Boxing Day – he’s one of just three players to score over 100 goals in the competition but never on Boxing Day, along with Sergio Agüero and Les Ferdinand.
● Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has scored eight Premier League goals against Manchester City, including two hat-tricks. Only Alan Shearer (11) and Wayne Rooney (9) have ever netted more Premier League goals against the Citizens than Vardy.
● Man City’s Raheem Sterling has scored in each of his last three Premier League games – he last scored in four in a row in the competition in August/September 2017.
● Leicester’s James Maddison has been directly involved in six goals in his last four Premier League games (3 goals, 3 assists), as many as he had in his previous 26 for the Foxes before this (3 goals, 3 assists).


3pm Norwich are another club who had an outbreak of Covid19, and possibly that was linked to their 2-0 loss to Aston Villa on Tuesday the 14th, who also had an outbreak after that. This game will likely go ahead as planned, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this one postponed. Arsenal will want to fulfil the fixture as they arrive into the game in great form. I know the teams around them have a couple of games in hand, but it must be a big confidence boost for Arsenal to get back into the Top Four – for the moment anyway! Backing Arsenal at odds on away from home should always come with a wealth warning, but this seems a good time to get on Arsenal and the 1.47 is worth backing. Even leaving aside the Covid19 issues for Norwich, they have been very poor this season and they are the hype of side that Arsenal do very well against. They won’t have the talent to put the type of pressure on Arsenal that they struggle with, and that usually means a smooth 2-0 or 3-0 Arsenal win.

It’s shrewd to keep stakes limited given its Arsenal away from home, and three points feels like the right stake here. It’s been a while since they have played obviously, but the last two home performances from Norwich have been very poor. They conceded an xG of 2.18 against Manchester United but then the Aston Villa performance was poor. They basically got outclassed and Villa haven’t been playing amazing football. I know Steven Gerrard has given the club a big boost, but they haven’t turned into Brazil! Arsenal come into the game on a high with their winning run and they have been putting the smaller sides to the sword on this run – they will likely come up short when they bump into a top team soon, but Arsenal will continue their winning ways here.

The Striker Says:
Three points win Arsenal to beat Norwich at 1.47 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Having been unbeaten in their first five Premier League games against Arsenal between 1992 and 1994 (W1 D4), Norwich have lost 10 of their last 14 against the Gunners in the competition (W1 D3).
● Arsenal earned their first Premier League win of the season in the reverse fixture against Norwich – only twice previously have they done the Premier League double against them (2004-05 and 2013-14).
● Norwich have played more Premier League games on Boxing Day without ever winning than any other side in the competition (7 – D1 L6). The Canaries have also scored just one goal in their seven such games, with Gary Hooper netting against Fulham in 2013-14.
● Arsenal have lost just two of their 23 Premier League games on Boxing Day (W14 D7), going down 3-2 at Coventry in 1999-00 and 4-0 at Southampton in 2015-16.
● Norwich are at the foot of the table with 10 points – only three teams bottom of the Premier League table at the start of Boxing Day have avoided relegation: West Bromwich Albion in 2004-05, Sunderland 2013-14 and Leicester in 2014-15.
● Norwich have failed to score in a league-high 11 different Premier League games this season. Meanwhile, in top-flight history, no side has ever scored fewer goals before Christmas than the eight the Canaries have netted this term.
● 52% of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season have been netted by players aged 21 or under (14/27), with only Leeds in 1999-00 (65%) having a higher such ratio within a single Premier League campaign (excluding own goals).
● Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored on both of his Boxing Day games in the Premier League, netting against Brighton in 2018-19 and Bournemouth in 2019-20. The only Arsenal player to score in three consecutive Boxing Day appearances is Thierry Henry (between 2002-03 and 2004-05).
● Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in six goals in three Premier League appearances against Norwich (5 goals, 1 assist), and has never failed to score against the Canaries in the competition.
● Gabriel Martinelli has been directly involved in six goals in his last six Premier League games for Arsenal (4 goals, 2 assists), as many as he had in his first 33 appearances in the competition before this (5 goals, 1 assist).


3pm Next we have the OG Covid19 outbreak side as Spurs host Crystal Palace! Spurs were getting games postponed with Covid19 before it went mainstream! They are back in business after their Covid outbreak, and they put in their best performance of the season last weekend in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool. They created an xG of 2.87 and they can say that they should have won the game. Unfortunately UEFA ruled they couldn’t fulfil their Europa Conference League fixture and they got knocked out of that competition, but I don’t think they’ll mind – I don’t feel they paid the competition too much respect anyway. Palace didn’t play last weekend, but that was mainly due to the Covid situation at Watford. It will be very interesting to see what type of performance we get from Spurs here, and whether or not they can back up their Liverpool performance. If they can repeat that level, they will win here no question, but the problem for Spurs is they are too hit-and-miss these days.

Conte will be hoping to change that, and in fairness to him he has been making progress so far. Spurs played out a very boring 0-0 with Everton in his first Premier League game, but since that they have recorded three wins and a draw. They have created xG figures of 2.48, 2.43, 2.14 and 2.87. OK, all those games have come at home and they have also played Leeds and Norwich in that run – but that’s a clear sign of progress compared to the type of performances they were putting in before he arrived. Palace really put Spurs back in their box earlier in the season with an impressive 3-0 win, and although Spurs “should” win here, the 1.79 looks a big short. As I said, if they play like they did against Liverpool they will win, but they aren’t reliable enough to put in that performance again. I would expect a pretty close game here, much closer than odds of 1.79 suggest and I’m happy to lay the home win from a value point of view.

The Striker Says:
One point lay (liability) Tottenham to beat Crystal Palace at 1.79 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Tottenham have lost just one of their 12 Premier League home games against Crystal Palace (W7 D4), going down 1-0 in November 1997. They’ve won their last six league games at home against the Eagles by an aggregate score of 13-1.
● Following their 3-0 victory at Selhurst Park in the reverse fixture, Crystal Palace are looking to win back-to-back league games against Tottenham for the very first time, with this their 46th such meeting.
● Tottenham are unbeaten in their last 14 league games on Boxing Day (W11 D3) since a 2-0 loss at Portsmouth in 2003-04. It’s the longest ongoing unbeaten run on this day by any side within the top four tiers of English football.
● Crystal Palace have won just one of their last six Premier League games on Boxing Day (D3 L2), beating West Ham 2-1 in 2019-20.
● Tottenham have lost five of their last six Premier League London derby matches (W1), and have won fewer points in such fixtures this season than any other side (3).
● Crystal Palace have scored seven goals in their last three Premier League London derbies, as many as in their previous 10 such games combined. The Eagles are unbeaten in their last four Premier League meetings with London sides (W1 D3), last having a longer such run without defeat in the top-flight between April-November 1990 (7 games).
● Tottenham have scored nine goals in their last four Premier League games, as many as they had in their first 11 in the competition this season.
● Tottenham are unbeaten in their five Premier League games under Antonio Conte (W3 D2). Only two managers in Spurs’ league history have remained unbeaten in their first six at the club – Jacques Santini in 2004 and Tim Sherwood in 2013-14.
● In Premier League history, only Robbie Fowler (9) has scored more Premier League goals on Boxing Day than Tottenham striker Harry Kane (8). Kane has scored in all five of his top-flight Boxing Day appearances, the longest such scoring streak in Premier League history, while he also holds the record for best minutes-per-goal on Boxing Day in the competition (once every 54 minutes, minimum four games).
● As a player, Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira was on the winning side in all eight of his Premier League games played on Boxing Day, the best 100% win rate on the day by a player in the competition’s history.


3pm We finish the 3pm fixtures with West Ham hosting Southampton, and this should be an interesting game. West Ham were scheduled to meet Norwich last weekend but that fixture couldn’t go ahead, while Southampton’s game was postponed against Brentford. It’s obviously hard to tell where the clubs stand fully with Covid19, but I feel these two clubs should be fine. This is the type of game to get a bit loss today with so much on Boxing Day, but it’s a big game for both sides. Southampton aren’t too far away from the danger zone should other results go against them over the New Year period, and West Ham need a win to stay in touch for the Top Four race. With Spurs and Manchester United having games in hand on them now, they really can’t afford to drop many more points. Let’s be realistically, a Top Four finish would be an immense achievement for West Ham and they will likely fall short, but the main should be to stay in the mix for as long as possible.

Southampton have gone a while now without a win. It’s been six games, and their performances haven’t been good. I felt they were playing much better than their position in the table suggested towards the start of the season, but they have been a little average lately. Their performance against Leicester was decent, but then again we know Leicester haven’t been playing well in general this season. They’ve had to play Arsenal and Liverpool, but losing to Norwich is obviously very disappointing. That loss came away from home, and perhaps home advantage can be the difference here. West Ham have been fantastic this season, but they have been struggling lately. Apart from their win against Chelsea, which was massive obviously, they have lost to Wolves, Man City and Arsenal as well as drawing with Burnley. The losses to Arsenal and Man City can be forgive, but overall they just haven’t performed. I feel that they are a little short here at 1.81 given the form they come into the game in, and they are worth having a small lay on.

The Striker Says:
One point lay (liability) West Ham to beat Southampton at 1.81 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● West Ham are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games against Southampton (W6 D2) since a 3-2 away loss in August 2017.
● After drawing their first ever Premier League away game against West Ham in May 1994 (3-3), none of Southampton’s last 18 visits to the Hammers in the competition has finished level. Saints have won just four of these 18 games (L14), losing the last four in a row while conceding exactly three goals each time.
● West Ham have won more games (19) and more home games (14) against Southampton in the Premier League than they have versus any other side in the competition.
● West Ham have won just one of their last seven league games on Boxing Day (D3 L3), winning 4-1 at Swansea in 2016-17. This is the Hammers’ first Boxing Day home game since 2013-14, a 3-1 defeat against Arsenal.
● This is the 12th time Southampton have played away from home on Boxing Day in the Premier League (W3 D5 L3), and it will be the 11th such game to be against a London side. Indeed, Saints have played more Boxing Day Premier League games in London than they have at home (7).
● After a run of four straight Premier League victories in October/November, West Ham have won just one of their last six in the competition (D2 L3). The Hammers have lost as many games in this run as they had in their previous 16 league games combined beforehand.
● West Ham have failed to score in their last two Premier League games, having failed to find the net in just two of their previous 18 in the competition prior to this. They last went three league matches without a goal in June 2020.
● West Ham boss David Moyes has lost just two of his 17 Premier League meetings with Southampton (W7 D8), going down 1-0 with Everton in September 2002 and 4-0 with Sunderland in February 2017.
● West Ham’s Michail Antonio has failed to score in any of his last eight Premier League appearances since netting the winner against Tottenham in October. The Jamaican international last had a longer run without a goal in the competition between November 2019 and February 2020 (9).
● Armando Broja has scored four goals in six Premier League starts, making him Southampton’s top league goal scorer this season. All four of the Albanian’s goals have given Saints the lead in the game, and have been worth five points overall.


5.30pm We have a very interesting game kicking off at 5-30pm as Aston Villa host Chelsea. Both these sides have had Covid19 issues, so we can’t say for certain that the fixture will actually go ahead as I type! I have to say, Chelsea have been the most unlucky club from this Covid situation in the Premier League. They have had to play through and have had requests for games to be postponed cancelled, and they have lost valuable ground in the title race while not being at full strength. Not only that, but as Thomas Tuchel said he can’t rely on the likes of Kante to cover everyone and start five games in two weeks – he will break down under the strain too, so it’s just a bad situation all around. Unfortunately for Chelsea, and without sounding too dramatic, they are probably out of the title race now – or at least very close to being out of it. When they played Liverpool and Manchester City they just didn’t look up to their level and they were outclassed in both games. What they had going for them was they were putting the smaller sides to the sword, but now they are six points behind Manchester City and three behind Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa will be hoping to make that gap bigger here! Villa have had Covid19 issues since beating Norwich 2-0, at the moment it looks like their outbreak came from that game and they haven’t played since. It’s hard to fully know what the situation is with regards to fitness levels etc, and I do strongly feel that in that regard it’s wise to keep stakes low in games like this over the New Year period. This is a game where we could see some big swings on the team news, and that’s definitely something to look for when trading. Chelsea have really struggled to get through this period, and they have especially struggled away from home. I feel they are too short at 1.74 here and are worth a small lay – Villa have hugely benefited from the momentum Gerrard brought and they have been on a good run even when losing to Liverpool and Man City by one goal. I feel they can get a result here; home advantage is a nice factor to have with Chelsea struggling.

The Striker Says:
One point lay (liability) Chelsea to beat Aston Villa at 1.74 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Aston Villa won this exact fixture 2-1 last season, last winning back-to-back home league games against Chelsea back in April 2004.
● Chelsea won the reverse fixture 3-0 earlier this season, and are looking to complete the Premier League double over Aston Villa for the seventh time – only Manchester United (15) and Manchester City (8) have done so against the Villans more often in the competition.
● This is the sixth time Aston Villa and Chelsea have met in a league match on Boxing Day (fourth in the Premier League), with Chelsea remaining unbeaten in the five games so far (W3 D2). The last such match came in the 2007-08 season, a 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.
● In Premier League history, there have been 38 red cards in games played on Boxing Day. 8% of these came in one match – Aston Villa’s 4-4 draw away to Chelsea in 2007-08, with Zat Knight being sent off for Villa, and Ricardo Carvalho and Ashley Cole seeing red for the Blues.
● Aston Villa have won their last three Boxing Day league games, their longest winning run on this day since a run of five between 1908 and 1913.
● Chelsea have lost their last two Boxing Day league games, going down 2-0 against Southampton in 2019-20 and 3-1 at Arsenal last term. Only once have the Blues ever lost three such games in a row, doing so between 1912 and 1914.
● Chelsea’s last two Premier League games have finished level, with the Blues last drawing three consecutive league games back in February 2012. Meanwhile, they’ve never gone three league games without a win so far under Thomas Tuchel.
● Chelsea have only failed to score in two of their 18 Premier League away games under Thomas Tuchel – a 0-0 draw with Leeds in March, and another 0-0 draw with Wolves in their last match.
● Aston Villa have only failed to score in one of their last 14 Premier League home games, and have found the net in each of their last nine at Villa Park since a 0-0 draw with Everton in May.
● None of Aston Villa’s last 14 Premier League games have ended level (W6 L8), with four of those victories coming in their six games under Steven Gerrard. It’s the Villans’ longest run without a draw in league football since a run of 16 between January and May 1998.


8pm We finish a fantastic day with Brighton hosting Brentford in the battle of the xG teams! Both of these sides put a huge importance on performance levels, xG figures and underlining numbers in general. It’s wise they haven’t overreacted in the past with sacking managers, and it’s nice to see them having some success now. Brentford have adjusted to life in the Premier League quite well now, and while Brighton had a fast start to the season they have slipped back down the table – however they are going to finish mid table which is an improvement on last season when they were in the relegation battle for a large part of the season. Both sides have played 16 games, have the same amount of points and are right beside each other in the table. They both haven’t played for a while too because of Covid19. Brentford broke a run without a win with a win over Watford on the 10th of December, while Brighton have played since losing to Wolves on the 15th. Obviously it’s wise to worry about the fitness situation here too, and definitely have that in the back of your mind when looking at the odds.

I’m a big fan of both sides, especially their outlook on how they want to play football. Perhaps because of that, I wasn’t expecting to see Brighton such heavy favourites for this game. They are trading 2.0 and I feel that’s just too short – I fully expect a closer game than those odds suggest, however I am happy to keep stakes limited as I’m sure both sides will be missing some players, and it’s hard to fully make a commitment to the betting market without seeing the teams given the situation. Brighton haven’t been playing too badly, but it has been a while since they won, on the plus side Brentford seem a much better side in front of their own fans. Nevertheless, the 2.0 on Brighton is too short to ignore here, and I’m happy to have a small lay on the home side. Best of luck to everyone on a great day of sport, and enjoy the 0% Commission on BETDAQ!

The Striker Says:
One point lay (liability) Brighton to beat Brentford at 2.0 with BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE.

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● Brighton won the reverse fixture against Brentford 1-0, but have done the league double over the Bees in just one of the last 23 campaigns in which they’ve met, doing so in 2010-11 in League One.
● Brentford have won two of their last three away league games against Brighton (L1), more than they had in their previous 12 visits (W1 D4 L7). This is their first league game at the Amex since a 2-0 win in September 2016.
● Brighton have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League games against promoted sides (W5 D6), going down 1-0 at West Brom in February. The Seagulls have conceded just four goals in these games, keeping a clean sheet in seven of their last eight.
● Brighton are winless in their last 11 Boxing Day league games (D4 L7) since beating QPR 1-0 in 2005-06. It’s the longest ongoing run without a Boxing Day league win of any side in the top four tiers of English football.
● Brentford have lost just one of their last 12 Boxing Day league games (W7 D4), losing 4-2 at home to Ipswich in 2014-15. The Bees have never lost on this day in the top-flight (W2 D1), with this their first such game since a 2-1 win over Sheffield United in 1946.
● Excluding 1992-93, just three teams have won a Premier League game on Boxing Day in their maiden campaign in the competition (D7 L11) – Sunderland in 1996-97, Portsmouth in 2003-04 and Wigan Athletic in 2005-06.
● Brighton are winless in their last 11 Premier League games (D8 L3), with the Seagulls last having a longer run without a victory in league competition between August and October 2002 (13).
● Two of Brentford’s five Premier League victories this season have been courtesy of 90th minute winners, including their win against Watford last time out. The only side to have had more wins thanks to 90th minute goals in their maiden campaign in the competition were Wigan Athletic (3 in 2005-06).
● Brentford were unbeaten in their first four Premier League away games (W2 D2), conceding just two goals in this run (0.5 per game). However, the Bees are now winless in four on the road (D2 L2), conceding 10 goals in these games (2.5 per game).
● Neal Maupay is Brighton’s highest scorer in the Premier League this season with six goals. He’s had three occasions where he’s scored in consecutive appearances this term, last scoring in three games in a row in October 2020.

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