What, where and when...your festive Premier League fixture guide
The Christmas fixture list is loaded with festive crackers for soccer lovers, but you will need to make some careful plans to ensure you don’t miss any of the big games.
Here is you Independent.ie guide to the key games over the next few days, with those of us partial to some red button planning in our TV viewing getting busy as we programme in these key matches.
ST STEPHEN’S DAY
Chelsea v Bournemouth (3pm)
The runaway Premier League leaders will a get a chance to open up a nine point lead at the top of the table once again as they go into battle without the suspended duo Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante.
Hull v Manchester City (5.15pm - Sky Sports)
Pep Guardiola’s side will hope that their 2-1 win against Arsenal last weekend will be the catalyst for a surge of improved form and they should have more than enough class to see off struggling Hull in the late game next Monday.
Other fixtures: Watford v Crystal Palace (12.30pm), Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion, Burnley v Middlesbrough, Leicester v Everton, Manchester United v Sunderland, Swansea v West Ham (all 3pm).
Liverpool v Stoke (5.15pm - Sky Sports)
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool collected two bonus points as they snatched a last gasp winner against Everton on Monday night and if they are to cling on to hope of narrowing the gap on Chelsea at the top, they need to see off sides of Stoke’s moderate calibre.
Southampton v Tottenham (7.45pm - Sky Sports)
Tottenham’s back-to-back wins against Hull and Burnley has fired them back into contention to get in the mix for a top four finish in the Premier League, with the two sides taking part in this fixture benefitting from a ten day break to prepare for this game.
Hull v Everton (8pm - Sky Sports)
Hardly one of the marquee games of this festive season, but it will be crucial to Hull’s hopes of hauling themselves away from the drop zone at the bottom of the Premier League table.
Rangers v Celtic (12.15pm - Sky Sports)
After handing Rangers a 5-1 battering at Parkhead back in September, Celtic established their authority in the title race and they will look to confirm their status as champions in the making with another dominant display at Ibrox.
Liverpool v Manchester City (5.30pm - BT Sport 1)
This may be the most significant fixture of the festive programme, with the loser at Anfield facing an uphill task to remain in touch with Chelsea at the top. Sergio Aguero is set to return from suspension for City, with an early evening game on New Year’s Eve may be the perfect way to start off a night of partying.
Other fixtures: Burnley v Sunderland, Chelsea v Stoke, Leicester v West Ham, Manchester United v Middlesbrough, Southampton v West Bromwich Albion, Swansea v Bournemouth (all 3pm).
Arsenal v Crystal Palace (4pm - Sky Sports)
The Gunners need to respond after their limp performance in defeat at Manchester City last weekend and their home fans will be ready to turn if they show any signs of weakness in this clash against struggling Palace. Meanwhile, Eagles boss Alan Pardew is under pressure once again, as his miserable run of results in 2016 have undermined his stability at Selhurst Park.
Also on New Year’s Day: Watford v Tottenham (1.30pm - Sky Sports)
West Ham v Manchester United (5.15pm - Sky Sports)
United’s machine is beginning to crank into gear under Jose Mourinho’s watch and they will look to confirm that their upturn in form can be sustained by tapping into West Ham’s uncertainty at their less than comfortable new London Stadium home.
Other fixtures: Middlesbrough v Leicester (12.30pm), Everton v Southampton, Man City v Burnley, Sunderland v Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion v Hull (all 3pm)