The congested fixture list over the Christmas period has the ability to make or break a team’s season, as everyone wants to take momentum into the second half of the campaign. With important games at both the top and bottom of the Premier League over the next month, the division will begin to take shape going into the new year.
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Tottenham vs Chelsea
The battle for the top four this year has been intensified by the excellent start to the season for Tottenham, and Harry Redknapp’s men will be keen to get one over their London rivals in the race for Champions League qualification.
Chelsea are traditionally a bogey team for Spurs, but improvement in personnel and results over the last couple of seasons means that the White Hart Lane faithful will go into this one expecting a win. At the time of writing there is only three points separating the two sides; a win to either will give the victor a major physiological boost.
Andre Villas Boas is under pressure to deliver after an inconsistent start, and should the Stamford Bridge outfit want to challenge for the title, this is a game that they should look to dominate. The Blues will be interested in signing Spurs midfielder Luka Modric once more in the January transfer window, and victory at White Hart Lane could convince the Croatian that his future could be with Chelsea.
Thursday, 22nd December, 7:30pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.
Blackburn vs Bolton
The division’s bottom two sides go head-to-head at Ewood Park in December in what is already shaping up to be a six-pointer. With both club’s destined to be involved in a fight to stay in the English top flight this term, three points could be invaluable come the end of the campaign and may well help the victorious side avoid The Championship.
The side bottom at Christmas traditionally goes down, so both struggling teams will know the importance of getting a result in this one. Both managers have been backed by their individual chairman despite the difficult situations they find themselves in, but a defeat, especially for Blackburn, could see a change on the home side’s bench.
Tuesday, 20th December, 7:30pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Liverpool fans had high hopes for this season, with a top four finish the end goal after a summer of spending. Despite the ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone in the league when at their best, Kenny Dalglish’s men have shown inconsistency and a lack of leadership without talisman and perennial saviour Steven Gerrard to call upon. The Reds need a positive festive season to avoid the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal getting too far ahead of them.
Villa meanwhile have been in a transitional period after Alex McLeish’s takeover in the summer, and the players are still getting used to their new manager and his tactics. Despite sitting in mid-table and likely to finish the season there, the Villa Park supporters are yet to warm to ex-Birmingham boss McLeish; the Scot needs high profile scalps like that of Liverpool to have the club’s fans accept him.
Sunday, 18th December, 2:00pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports HD 1.
Watch Live Football On Sky HD
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