West Ham United make the short trip across London to face the Premier League leaders Arsenal. Mikel Arteta‘s side is unbeaten in their last eight league fixtures and will need to keep this going if they are to maintain their title challenge.
Bukayo Saka performed well at the World Cup, scoring three goals. However, England suffered a heartbreaking defeat to France in the quarter-finals. Arteta will need to make sure Saka has got over this defeat, so he can continue his impressive form with his side.
Arsenal will also be without Gabriel Jesus, who suffered ligament damage whilst playing for Brazil at the World Cup. His absence will be a massive blow, however, visiting manager David Moyes has never won a league at the Emirates.
West Ham’s Declan Rice performed well for England in Qatar. The Hammers also had Lucas Paquetá in the Brazil squad, which was knocked out at the same stage as the Three Lions. Paquetá played a deeper role for his country in the tournament, so this could be an option for Moyes to partner him alongside Rice in midfield.
Neither side was involved in the League Cup earlier in the week as both suffered shock defeats in the third round. The Gunners lost to Brighton, whilst the Hammers went out on penalties to Blackburn Rovers.
West Ham is just one point above the relegation zone so are in desperate need of some points. Anything can happen in a London derby, and this match is sure to be a cracker on Boxing Day.
Score prediction: Arsenal 2-1 West Ham
Leeds vs Manchester City, Wednesday December 28, kick-off 20:00
Erling Haaland did not feature in the World Cup as Norway failed to qualify. He returns to the city of his birth in this fixture. Being born in Leeds made him eligible to play for England, and we can only wonder what would have happened if he was a part of Gareth Southgate‘s side at the World Cup.
He may have missed out on the tournament, but Haaland will be well-rested, and it is scary to think, how many more goals he could add to the 18 he has already registered so far in the league.
Haaland is also not Pep Guardiola‘s only striking option. Julián Álvarezwas key to his country’s World Cup success, scoring four goals, and will be looking to get more game time in a city shirt.
Leeds United are only two points above the relegation zone, so need to start picking up points. They will also be without Tyler Adams who is suspended. Adams starred whilst captaining the USA at the World Cup, so will be a big miss for Leeds.
Jesse Marsch‘s side lost in the third round of the League Cup to Wolves, so were not involved midweek. But Manchester City defeated Liverpool 3-2 which will be a great confidence booster for Guardiola’s team.
Score prediction: Leeds 0-3 Manchester City
Everton vs Wolves, Monday December 26, kick-off 15:00
This is a massive game at the bottom of the table. Wolverhampton Wanderers have not won in their last four games. However, they have a new manager, Julen Lopetegui will be taking charge of his first Premier League game. Lopetegui brings with him the experience of managing Spain and Real Madrid. Although, a relegation battle with Wolves, is a world away from what he is used to.
Lopetegui has wasted no time in bringing in talent from the Spanish league, with the imminent signing of Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid. Wolves fans will be hoping the Brazilian forward can fire them out of the relegation zone.
Everton’s form has not been much better, as they have lost their last two games. Frank Lampard‘s side is just outside the drop zone but only by one point. They need to win to avoid being sucked back into it.
The Toffees were not involved in the League Cup this week as they were humiliated by Bournemouth in the third round, suffering a 4-1 defeat. Wolves did compete and they beat Gillingham 2-0, thanks to two late goals.
Score prediction: Everton 1-2 Wolves
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