Next week in: English Football – Boxing Day Games

With the Premiership fixtures coming and going faster than the frontrunners in the GOP Presidential Nominee race, time for a quick recap of the midweek games and a preview of the matches scheduled for the two days after Christmas.

Steve Kean's prays for a Christmas miracle at Blackburn

On Tuesday, Bolton ensured that their Lancashire rivals, Blackburn Rovers, would be consigned to the bottom of the Premier League on Christmas Day, as they won 2-1 at Ewood Park – a game in which the home crowd spent much of the time calling for the sacking of their team’s manager, Steve Kean, rather than trying to get behind their players.  That same evening, Wolves and Norwich played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Molineux, a result which kept the home team just above the relegation zone.

The next night, it was business as usual for both Manchesters City and United – who won 3-0 at home to Stoke and 5-0 at Fulham respectively.  Arsenal maintained their impressive run of form with 2-1 win away to Aston Villa, thanks to a late strike by Benayoun; Everton kept Swansea winless in England by beating them 1-0 at Goodison Park; Newcastle’s injury-plagued defence helped West Brom earn a 3-2 away win against United; Sunderland won by the same margin against Queens Park Rangers in South-West London; and Wigan held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium.  Before the game, the Liverpool players saw fit to wear t-shirts in support of their striker, Luis Suarez, who has been found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and is facing an eight game suspension – not exactly the worthiest of causes.

In similar news, John Terry found out he was going to face criminal charges over his alleged racist abuse of Anton Ferdinand in Chelsea’s match with QPR in October – his teammates did not wear t-shirts in support of their captain, but he did put in a fantastic defensive performance in his side’s 1-1 draw away at Tottenham.  Spurs had dominated the opening exchanges in that game and were deservedly 1-0 ahead after Bale’s great work on the left-wing set up Adebayor for the opening goal – but their defence went to sleep for Sturridge’s equaliser and the second half was dominated by the away team.  Both teams had excellent chances to win it – Ramires had a free header six yards out for Chelsea, but (thankfully) directed it wide of Friedel’s goal – and in the end the draw ensured Tottenham are London’s top club at Christmas for the first time since the city was called Londinium and being sacked by Queen Boudica and the Iceni.

On Monday, neighbours Chelsea and Fulham meet at Stamford Bridge; Bolton host Newcastle; Liverpool will try to add to Steve Kean’s woes as they take on Blackburn at Anfield; Manchester United have an easy home fixture against Wigan; Manchester City travel to West Brom; Stoke play Aston Villa; and Sunderland take on Everton at the Stadium of Light.  The Tuesday games see all three promoted sides in action: Swansea and QPR meet in Wales; while Norwich host Tottenham in what promises to be an entertaining fixture, with both teams always looking for goals.  Also on that day, Arsenal will continue their push for a top four spot when they take on Wolves at the Emirates – the Gunners are now just a single point behind Chelsea in the race for a Champions League place next year.

Predictions

Last week, 2-8; Season, 61-78 – Oh dear…

MONDAY

Chelsea vs Fulham – Draw

Bolton vs Newcastle – Home win

Liverpool vs Blackburn – Home win

Manchester United vs Wigan – Home win

Sunderland vs Everton – Draw

West Brom vs Manchester City – Away win

Stoke vs Aston Villa – Home win

TUESDAY

Arsenal vs Wolves – Home win

Swansea vs QPR – Draw

Norwich vs Tottenham – Away win

 

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