CHRISTMAS is nearly upon us and Dream Team bosses are faced with their annual headache of how to navigate the festive fixtures.
Premier League clubs face the prospect of SEVEN top-flight matches in a 28-day period and that’s without some European action and EFL Cup quarter-finals tossed in for good measure.
Will Man City enter the title race this month[/caption]
We’ve crunched the numbers and analysed the fixtures to give you the best possible chance to score BIG points this December.
- Wolves (h), Midtjylland (a), Fulham (a), Spurs (h), Crystal Palace (a), West Brom (h), Newcastle (a), Southampton (a)
The fixtures read pretty well for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The reigning champions have eight games between December 6 – January 2 and will be heavy, heavy favourites against Midtjylland, Fulham, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Newcastle.
The festive period will be critical for Liverpool if they’re to defend their title and with such a heavy injury list, rotation for the likes of Mohamed Salah (£6.8m) and co will be limited.
- Fulham (h), Marseille (h), Man Utd (a), West Brom (h), Southampton (a), Arsenal (a), Newcastle (h), Everton (a), Chelsea (a)
Ignore City assets at your peril.
The Citizens look to have turned the corner having crushed Burnley 5-0 last weekend and there are plenty more appetising fixtures on the horizon.
Fulham, West Brom and Newcastle all have to make the daunting trip to the Etihad over the next four weeks.
It’s obviously a risk trying to predict what starting XI Pep Guardiola will field but the rewards could be enormous if you get it right.
Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho’s sides are in excellent form[/caption]
- Leeds (h), Krasnodar (h), Everton (a), Wolves (a), West Ham (h), Arsenal (a), Aston Villa (h), Man City (h)
Defenders or attackers? It doesn’t really matter with the way Chelsea are playing recently.
Frank Lampard’s side have kept eight clean sheets and scored 22 goals in their last ten outings and show no signs of slowing down.
It’s a mixed bag in terms of the fixtures with tricky away trips to Everton, Wolves and Arsenal (if you still consider the Emirates a difficult place to go) on the agenda.
Such a stacked squad also carries a fair few rotation risks, the lesser-spotted Olivier Giroud (£3.3m) and his four goals against Sevilla are evidence of that.
- Arsenal (h), Antwerp (h), Crystal Palace (a), Liverpool (a), Leicester (h), Stoke (a), Wolves (a), Fulham (h), Leeds (h)
Premier League leaders, but for how much longer?
Jose Mourinho’s side have NINE matches over the Christmas period with Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester to play.
There are, however, a few gems in amongst the difficult encounters – most notably those two home fixtures against newly promoted Fulham and Leeds around New Year.
Christmas party time?[/caption]
- West Ham (a), RB Leipzig (a), Man City (h), Sheffield United (a), Leeds (h), Everton (a), Leicester (a), Wolves (h), Aston Villa (h)
Honestly, who knows what Man United will show up regardless of the fixtures?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are capable of filling their boots against any side and are averaging nearly three goals per game but inconsistency has plagued them.
The Red Devils will have to travel to West Ham, RB Leipzig and Leicester over the next month, and there’s the small matter of a Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
Managers beware because rotation is likely given their participation in the Premier League, Champions League and EFL Cup.
- Sheffield United (a), AEK (h), Brighton (h), Everton (h), Tottenham (a), Man United (h), Crystal Palace (a), Newcastle (a)
The Foxes have eight fixtures over Christmas and talisman Jamie Vardy (as always) looks an intriguing prospect.
Vardy is hoping to defend his Golden Boot and should relish trips to Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle while also continuing his impressive record against the so-called ‘big six’ when he faces Spurs and Man United.
But there’s a slight catch.
Leicester have less fixtures than their top-six rivals AND are expected to make wholesale changes against AEK given they’ve already qualified for the knockout stages.