Most Read Football

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package1

Saturday's Premier League tips

After profits courtesy of the Manchester derby, George Pitts looks ahead to Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets and key stats.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pgaes2

Paper Talk: So long Sanchez?

Man United prepare to pay out Alexis Sanchez's contract and Liverpool want £60m Napoli ace, according to the back pages.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer3

Keane: Players will let Ole down

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has hit out at the club's players and said they will throw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "under the bus".

Paul Dickov reflects on Manchester City's famous play-off victory over Gillingham
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Man City's sliding doors moment

Paul Dickov talks to Sporting Life about the injury time goal that many Manchester City fans believe was the catalyst for the club becoming the giant it is today.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp5

Klopp: Just the first step

Jurgen Klopp says that Liverpool are just beginning their journey as he looks to press Man City all the way to the final day of the Premier League season.

Free football betting tips: Boxing Day Premier League preview includes Tottenham v Southampton

All eyes will be on Harry Kane at Wembley
All eyes will be on Harry Kane at Wembley

David John previews Boxing Day's Premier League fixtures and he is keen on a convincing Spurs win.

Tottenham v Southampton (1230 GMT, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)

The Premier League emerges from a brief Christmas break at Wembley with all eyes on Harry Kane as he chases a variety of goal-scoring records over the calendar year.

The England hitman is a best price of 5/6 to add to the 36 he has bagged already in 2017 and 17/1 to follow-up Saturday’s clinical hat-trick at Turf Moor and like his team as a whole, there will be much expectation when they jog out at the national stadium.

Their long odds-on quote probably reflects their chance too as that potential Wembley hoodoo this season has been exploded with a run of solid home form expected to be extended against a very beatable Southampton side.

Kane’s quest should be easier with moody Virgil van Dijk starting to twitch again at this time of year with the transfer window looming and it would not be a shock to see under-pressure boss Mauricio Pellegrino leave him at home once more if he is becoming too disruptive.

The big Dutchman at his best will be missed so Kane could potentially fill his boots judged on the woeful piece of defending that allowed Huddersfield to get a point after Laurent Depoitre was given the freedom of St Mary’s to head home from point blank range.

The visitors have issues at the other end too, exacerbated by Charlie Austin’s absence after he was helped off with a tweaked hamstring - he would have missed out anyway following the nasty little kick in the face he gave to Jonas Lossl.

So as long as Mauricio Pochettino does not go too crackers with his squad rotation then Kane and company can get the job done with some degree of comfort - go for a home success by exactly two goals.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Southampton - Sky Bet odds: 11/1

David Moyes can smarten up West Ham's defence
David Moyes can smarten up West Ham's defence

Bournemouth v West Ham (1500)

Shrug your shoulders and move on is my advice to the Cherries after becoming the latest mere mortals crushed by the Manchester City juggernaut.

They sort of stuck around for 25 minutes but trying to dribble out of their own area against City’s high-pressing game was not the brightest thing to do as Sergio Aguero eventually made them pay with an astute diving header.

Eddie Howe’s side did not capitulate entirely until the final 30 minutes but have accrued just three points from seven Premier League games since a mini autumn revival and have failed to score in their last three, a situation all too familiar at the Vitality Stadium.

There should be some level of optimism that the goalless spell may come to an end here as the visitors reverted to their Keystone Cops act with defenders running into one another at the back against a positive Newcastle side who ran rings around them in patches.

David Moyes will not stand for that sort of nonsense and the 3-2 defeat should mean some additional and intensive defensive focus during a very quick turnaround between fixtures.

There is 9/4 available about the Hammers getting back on the clean sheet trail, something they have managed recently against Chelsea, Arsenal and Stoke, so that could be the way to go here to leave the hosts still looking for a solution to the critical issue of putting the ball in the back of the net.

Prediction: Bournemouth 0-1 West Ham - Sky Bet odds: 7/1

Chelsea v Brighton (1500)

Chelsea found Everton’s defensive organisation just beyond them on Saturday and an extended spell in the second half camped on the edge of the Toffees' area yielded nothing in a disappointing 0-0 draw.

That means another two points dropped in what has become an increasingly hopeless pursuit of Manchester City but Antonio Conte will at least have another option up front with the return of Alvaro Morata following a ban.

Heading back to Stamford Bridge will do no harm either with their home record standing up to the utmost scrutiny following seven wins from eight in all competitions and it will be a major surprise if they are not able to put a functional but limited Brighton side to the sword.

The Seagulls picked up their first three points since the start of November with a lively performance against Watford with the 1-0 scoreline somewhat underwhelming considering the number of chances they created.

They almost blew it too at the death when Stefano Okaka contrived to scoop a chance over the bar from three inches but the visitors simply must convert the limited chances likely to come their way to have any hope of making things interesting.

Swansea and Southampton have both come to west London in the last month and only been seen off by a 1-0 margin so I can’t see Chris Hughton’s well organised team being on the wrong end of a clattering.

Morata’s return though can help make things a bit more comfortable for Conte in a run-of-the-mill home victory.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Brighton - Sky Bet odds: 4/1

Huddersfield v Stoke (1500)

Mark Hughes and Stoke go the shot in the arm they were looking for over the weekend in a 3-1 victory over West Brom but the result was very much in the balance until added time and I don’t feel the Potters are out of the woods just yet.

They allowed the Baggies to build way too much pressure with the score at 2-1 and some slightly better finishing or a kinder bounce of the ball for the Baggies could have seen the hosts chuck a vital two points away and leave Hughes’ position under serious threat while he tucked into his Christmas lunch.

We will have a better idea of whether Stoke are back on the right track or not at the John Smith’s Stadium against a fair Huddersfield team making a decent fist of their first season in the Premier League.

They stuck to the task well on Saturday to earn a point at Southampton having gone behind and they seem extremely good at rising to the occasion on their little patch of west Yorkshire in front of some tremendous support.

They are 6/4 or thereabouts to bolster an already strong home record - two recent defeats have come at the hands of Manchester City and Chelsea - and should give it another very good go against a side that has managed just one away success all season.

Prediction: Huddersfield 2-1 Stoke - Sky Bet odds: 9/1

Burnley will be competitive at Old Trafford
Burnley will be competitive at Old Trafford

Manchester United v Burnley (1500)

Jose Mourinho labelled the Red Devils "immature" after they were unable to see out a winning position at Leicester in another chapter of what is turning out to be a low-key season to date.

Dumped out of the Carabao Cup by lower league opposition too last week, there is not exactly a great deal of festive cheer around the club and I don’t really see how a quote of 1/4 can be justified judged on current form.

That said, only Manchester City have managed to beat them at Old Trafford this season in what is otherwise a perfect record but surely there are a few tiny shadows of doubt creeping in for a team that is allowed absolutely no leeway when it comes to misfiring performances.

Sean Dyche’s battlers from Burnley are just the sort of side to approach this game with the right attitude and should feel they can get something out of the short trip down the motorway.

Punished in the end at Turf Moor by Harry Kane, they probably felt they could have nicked a goal when still only trailing Spurs by one goal and the redoubtable Dyche has shown a canny knack already this season of getting his side to regather themselves quickly and effectively

All four previous reverses have been followed immediately by a victory and although continuing that trend here is a big ask, they are not without hope of forcing a positive result.

Dyche basically needs to solve two issues, firstly striker Chris Wood is more than likely ruled out and secondly, he needs a stronger effort from the suspended James Tarkowski’s replacement Kevin Long, who spent a good deal of Saturday vainly trying to make an effective tackle on Kane.

I have faith Dyche can deliver the goods once again in this fixture and 11/10 with a two-goal start on the handicap is very tempting.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Burnley - Sky Bet odds: 9/1

Leicester can pick up another win at Watford
Leicester can pick up another win at Watford

Watford v Leicester (1500)

The Hornets just can’t get out of their own way at the moment and were on the wrong end of another result at the weekend at Brighton which very much could have gone either way.

Goalkeeping that left a lot to be desired and a lack of confidence in front of goal were the main issues for Marco Silva to dissect from the trip to the Amex Stadium as he attempts to arrest an alarming slide that has seen them lose five of their last six outings.

They face a crucial couple of home fixtures (Swansea up next) before going in search of some revenge for September’s 6-0 home drubbing to Manchester City on January 2 but the Foxes have the bit between their teeth currently and will be very testing opponents.

They are becoming increasingly sure-footed under Claude Puel and that self-belief helped them overcome a foolish red card for Daniel Amartey against Manchester United to pinch a very late point at the King Power Stadium.

Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and Marc Albrighton are all performing at near their championship-winning level from a couple of seasons ago so there should be no obvious reason why they can’t take that recent swagger to Vicarage Road.

Their only defeats on the road this season have been at Arsenal and Manchester United so I like a quote of around 2/1 - or perhaps even a fraction bigger if you shop around - to heap more pressure on a home side engaged very much in reverse gear.

Prediction: Watford 1-3 Leicester - Sky Bet odds: 22/1

West Brom v Everton (1500)

The Baggies will have all the trappings of a classic hard-luck relegation story this season if they can’t start to convert possession and chances into victories relatively quickly.

Salomon Rondon remains a striker who requires four or five opportunities per game to find his range while new boss Alan Pardew needs to bring some order to the frenetic passages of play with the defeat at Stoke another good example of a desperate search for someone to keep a calm head and put their foot on the ball.

There has been some early money for them to finally bring to a conclusion a horrible winless spell that stretches back to Accrington in August but they are simply going to have to show much more guile and craft to get any joy against the visitors on Boxing Day.

This is a team that kept Chelsea at bay for over 90 minutes on Saturday as Sam Allardyce’s has turned a slipshod defence into one that is remarkably stout in a short space of time and look very well equipped to deal with any threat posed by the home side.

Getting an edge at the other end is rather more tricky but the positive of Wayne Rooney’s predicted return from illness is balanced by the loss of midfield destroyer Idrissa Gueye, the architect of so many forward surges with his ball-winning ability, to a hamstring problem.

Allardyce will once more rely on a keeping a clean sheet as the foundation of any success at The Hawthorns and his team have responded well by finding a knack of coming up with a decider in front of goal so another narrow away victory seems a reasonable conclusion to draw.

Prediction: West Brom 0-1 Everton - Sky Bet odds: 6/1

Liverpool v Swansea (1730, Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League)

This was a pivotal fixture for the Swans last season in their successful survival bid and we go full circle with them heading back to Anfield in the hands of a new manager following the sacking of Paul Clement.

Leon Britton has temporary charge at the Liberty Stadium and he remains unbeaten after taking a creditable point at home to improving Crystal Palace at the weekend.

His players showed plenty of tenacity having fallen behind to a second-half penalty and it was certainly Swansea who looked the more likely to go on and claim all three points as they applied some strong pressure in the closing stages.

The fact they are not adrift from the rest of the relegation strugglers is a bonus as we head into the second half of the season and it will be fascinating to see how Britton goes about a daunting second test.

This is the time of year that awards are dished out and Liverpool are clear front-runners when it comes to the most frustrating team to follow.

The full range of their brilliant attacking wares were on display at Arsenal on Friday night but they still managed to let a team off the hook that was dead and buried early in the second half.

Swansea don’t possess that sort of quality to recover if Liverpool do manage to open up a decent advantage but you simply can’t rely on Jurgen Klopp’s team not to drop a clanger or two at some stage in the match and give the visitors some hope of taking something back to south Wales.

The latter outcome might require a Man of the Match effort from Lukasz Fabianski in goal but surely his players can at last prevent Klopp from spontaneously combusting on the touchline with a straightforward success.

Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Swansea - Sky Bet odds: 10/1

Recommended bets:

1pt Tottenham to beat Southampton by exactly two goals at 3/1

1pt West Ham to keep a clean sheet at 9/4

1pt Burnley (+2) to beat Manchester United at 11/10

1pt Leicester to beat Watford at 2/1

Posted at 1445 GMT on 24/12/17.

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Most Read Football

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package1

Saturday's Premier League tips

After profits courtesy of the Manchester derby, George Pitts looks ahead to Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets and key stats.

The latest rumour and gossip from the back pgaes2

Paper Talk: So long Sanchez?

Man United prepare to pay out Alexis Sanchez's contract and Liverpool want £60m Napoli ace, according to the back pages.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer3

Keane: Players will let Ole down

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has hit out at the club's players and said they will throw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "under the bus".

Paul Dickov reflects on Manchester City's famous play-off victory over Gillingham
4

Man City's sliding doors moment

Paul Dickov talks to Sporting Life about the injury time goal that many Manchester City fans believe was the catalyst for the club becoming the giant it is today.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp5

Klopp: Just the first step

Jurgen Klopp says that Liverpool are just beginning their journey as he looks to press Man City all the way to the final day of the Premier League season.

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Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Saturday's Premier League tips

After profits courtesy of the Manchester derby, George Pitts looks ahead to Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets and key stats.