As the Premier League prepares for a first-ever winter break, enforced by the World Cup over in Qatar, players will be looking forward to a chance to recharge their batteries after an intense few months. There are already plenty of talking points to dissect from the first half of the season — from Arsenal’s surprise title race, to Leicester City’s dip in form — those that bet on football at SkyBet.com will know why it is regarded as one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
As soon as the World Cup is over, things pick right back up where they left off as far as England’s top flight is concerned. Aside from some League Cup fixtures, this will be the first time a lot of sides return to action, and with the Boxing Day games so iconic in Premier League history, there is a lot to be excited about. Read on, as we take a look at some of the most entertaining matches as the Premier League returns this Christmas.
Brentford vs Tottenham Hotspur
Kicking things off with a London Derby, Brentford’s Danish contingent will be hoping to return from the World Cup and continue their solid start to their sophomore Premier League season at home to Tottenham Hotspur. Antonio Conte’s side looked shaky before the break and will need to show more consistency to establish themselves as a regular in the battle for top four.
Spurs’ disappointing exit from the League Cup will give them a bit more time to focus on the trip to the Brentford Community Stadium, having drawn 0-0 there in a rather underwhelming game last season. Thomas Frank will know form is crucial if his side want to avoid being thrown into the relegation battle, which at the time of writing separates 14th from 20th by a couple of wins.
Everton vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Already seen as a potential relegation six-pointer, Frank Lampard will want to silence his critics after another season treading water so far at Everton, but Wolverhampton Wanderers are hardly a straightforward opponent.
This will be Julen Lopetegui’s first game in charge of Wolves, taking over from Bruno Lage and having plenty of time getting to know the players in his squad that have stayed at home throughout the World Cup. This gives the visitors a slight advantage despite Everton possessing that home form, with the Toffees winless in their last four — scoring just one.
Arsenal vs West Ham United
On to the title race now, and top-of-the-league Arsenal will need to show longevity if they can really challenge current champions Manchester City right to the end. Mikel Arteta’s side went on a great run in the lead-up to the World Cup and the break perhaps came at a bad time given they have already beaten the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea this season.
West Ham picked up their poor form this season but a home loss to Leicester was another example of their fragility at the back this season. A win would take Arsenal eight clear at the top until City’s game away to Leeds United, but anything less could be the beginning of the end to the Gunners’ title prospects.
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