Ed Chamberlin: Merry Christmas

  • Last Updated: December 21 2013, 15:02 GMT

Sky Sports presenter Ed Chamberlin looks at the Premier League and the Christmas racing action in his latest column.

  • Ed Chamberlin prepares for a bumper Christmas of spot.
  • It was a great Super Sunday for Liverpool. 
  • Jezki remains Ed;s selection to win the Champion Hurdle. 

Football

It was great to have Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard with us on Super Sunday last weekend and you can imagine what the atmosphere was like in the studio as Liverpool ran riot in the 5-0 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

It was a hugely impressive performance, which Gerrard described as the best display by the team under Brendan Rogers. Like the rest of us he marvelled at the brilliance of Luis Suarez and was spot on when he said that we should relish and enjoy the Uruguayan while he is playing in this country and lighting up the Premier League.

Tottenham were humbled and it was little surprise to see Andre Villas-Boas leave the club the following day. It wasn't so much the defeat on Super Sunday that was alarming but the manner of the loss. The fact that Spurs did not have a single shot on target in a home game for the first since Opta stats began, said it all.

Sky Bet have a next Tottenham manager market running. Tim Sherwood started as the favourite, with recent money for Ajax coach Frank de Boer after Fabio Capello and Glenn Hoddle were initially backed.

Mauricio Pochettino has drifted out to 25/1 but is an intriguing contender because Spurs are up against Southampton at St Mary's this weekend live on Super Sunday.

Team Versus Team
Liverpool v Cardiff
C Palace v Newcastle
Fulham v Man City
Man Utd v West Ham
Sunderland v Norwich
West Brom v Hull City
Stoke City v A Villa
Southampto v Tottenham
Swansea v Everton
Arsenal v Chelsea

Sherwood is a popular man with the players and the team is bound to get a lift for what should be a really good game, especially if they play two up front (Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe) as they did on Wednesday night against West Ham.

That's our first match on Super Sunday and then we'll be live at the Liberty Stadium for Swansea against Everton.

That means a return to where it all began in management for Roberto Martinez. However, meetings with Swansea haven't been kind to the Spaniard so far with four Premier League games without a win. It should be a different ball game though with Everton, who are flying right now.

The two best performances I have seen in the Premier League this season have been City's demolition of United in the Manchester derby and Everton's first 40 minutes at the Emirates against Arsenal. Martinez has got them playing some brilliant football and Sunday's game looks guaranteed to be pleasing on the eye. The two full backs, Seamus Coleman and Bryan Oviedo, are particularly impressive and important to the way Everton now play. Michael Laudrup will have to find a way to keep them busy going at the back.

After the game at Swansea it will be the long haul down the M4 to London as we have a real pre-Christmas treat on the Monday Night Football with Arsenal taking on Chelsea.

This is a proper betting heat with Arsenal shading favouritism with Sky Bet at 11/8, Chelsea a 15/8 chance and the draw at 12/5.

It's been a tough run for Arsenal, with an energy sapping defeat in Naples playing its part in the 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City. The reverse against Napoli proved expensive as they drew Bayern Munich out of the hat in the Champions League draw and are now considered virtual no-hopers for that competition at 28/1.

Ed Chamberlin "Many are expecting the wheels to come off their season but Arsenal have the perfect platform to answer their critics on Monday night and have already proved during the campaign that there is a genuine backbone and spirit to this side."
Ed Chamberlin

A win for the Gunners against the Blues will guarantee them top spot on Christmas Day, which we know is an important omen as the champions from the last four seasons have all been top on December 25.

Arsenal and Chelsea have been brilliant in 2013 and have taken more Premier League points than any other teams in the calendar year. The Gunners have been, and remain, prolific at home.

They had to work hard to draw with Everton on Super Sunday last time out at the Emirates but have still only lost once at home in the Premier League since the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City on January 13.


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Arsenal's issue remains with their results against the big guns. That's typified by their recent record against Chelsea, who have won eight of the 11 meetings in all competitions in the last five years including each of last three meetings (both 2-1 in the Premier League last season).

Chelsea's big problem this season has been killing teams off, not helped by the lack of goals from their strikers. It's extraordinary to think that none of their 30 goals in 17 Premier League away games so far this year has been scored by a striker. Strikers have scored only 12 per cent of Chelsea's 68 League goals in 2013.

It will be fascinating to see what Jose Mourinho does on Monday night. Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville and myself will be live from 1900 GMT on Sky Sports 1. I hope you can join us.

Horse racing

The race of the season is shaping up to be the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival . All the ingredients are being stirred nicely. The New One is Sky Bet's 3/1 favourite to win but I'm not totally convinced by what he's achieved so far this season and whether he deserves to have shortened up so much in the betting.

The New One has beaten a disappointing Rock On Ruby at Kempton and then a reluctant Zarkandar on Saturday at Cheltenham. We'll learn more on Boxing Day in the Christmas Hurdle when he takes in My Tent Or Yours in what is a mouth-watering clash.

I've said plenty of times that I think My Tent Or Yours is virtually unbeatable around a flat track and expect him to have too much speed for The New One at Kempton but can easily see the form being reversed at Cheltenham in March. However, I'm not sure either of them will beat the Irish.

Jezki remains my selection to win the Champion Hurdle.

This weekend there's some top action at Ascot, where Chatterbox should run a big race in the Ladbroke, and Haydock after which we are set for a Christmas racing feast in England and Ireland.

I think we're set for a grey Christmas with Al Ferof winning the King George.

My best bet for Christmas is Thomas Edison in his chosen engagement over hurdles in Ireland. Finally, I'd like to wish you all a very happy and profitable Christmas.


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