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Leicester City meet Liverpool, Arsenal face Chelsea to headline weekly schedule

12:36 PM IST 18/12/19
Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2019-20
With Europe’s leagues on a break, all attention turns to the Premier League during an intense festive period of compelling fixtures

Premier League fans are set for a series of mouth-watering clashes during the festive period, as the English top-flight reaches fever pitch.

The Christmas fixtures are always intense affairs, and this year is set to be no different, with several tasty bouts set to be brought to you on SuperSport.

League leaders Liverpool, having returned to England after their title-winning exploits at the Club World Cup, face a stern test on Boxing Day—in the pick of the day’s action—when they go away to second-placed Leicester City.

It remains to be seen whether the Reds will have any kind of hangover following their long trip to Doha, but the Foxes will be primed to capitalise if the Reds aren’t at their best at the King Power Stadium.

The 2016 champions have stuttered in recent weeks as they look to keep the pressure on the Merseysiders, being held by Norwich City before falling to defeat against Manchester City last weekend.

However, they remain the best of the rest—10 points behind the Anfield giants—and former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers would love to hand his successor Jurgen Klopp a maiden loss of the season.

The Reds will have to overcome this testing assignment without several key stars.

There’s a lack of options in defence, with Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren out, while Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Fabinho are both also on the injury list.

The Boxing Day action kicks off at the new White Hart Lane, where Tottenham Hotspur will be desperate to bounce back from Sunday’s home defeat by Chelsea when Brighton & Hove Albion come to town.

Spurs had won four of their last five matches before the weekend’s London derby but were undone in a listless display, which was duly overshadowed by alleged racist chanting aimed at visiting defender Antonio Rudiger.

Jose Mourinho will be desperate for some inspiration from his new charges, but with Son Heung-min suspended after lashing out at the aforementioned Rudiger, he’s running low on options.

Could Christian Eriksen, who hasn’t started a league game since the 1-1 draw with Everton on November 3, be reintroduced to the first eleven?

Also on Boxing Day, new coaches Mikel Arteta and Carlo Ancelotti will begin their new assignments at Arsenal and Everton respectively.

The former begin the festive period down in eleventh, and desperately need an upturn in fortunes—beginning this week away at Bournemouth—if they’re to rejoin the race for Champions League qualification.

Mesut Ozil and Hector Bellerin are likely to face late fitness tests for the North Londoners, while Calum Chambers misses out with a suspension.

The Toffees’ signing of ex-Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Ancelotti, who recently left his post at Napoli, represents a massive coup…and a genuine statement of intent.

Can he begin his reign with a win when Burnley come to town on Thursday?

The Italian will have to do without long-term absentees Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Andre Gomes, while Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott are also struggling.

Also on December 26, Chelsea host Southampton, while Newcastle United travel to old rivals Manchester United.

The only sides not in action on Boxing Day are Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester City, who meet at Molineux on Thursday evening.

City have responded well following their derby defeat by United, with big wins against Arsenal and Leicester, but they’re still without Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and David Silva, while influential midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is also doubtful.

Teams will only have one day of rest before taking to the field again, with seven matches scheduled for Saturday.

Leicester face a tough assignment away at West Ham United, while Tottenham Hotspur are away at Norwich City.

In the early kick-off, Bournemouth will be looking to get some much-needed points on the board in a South-Coast collision with Brighton, while Manchester United are away at Burnley in the late kick-off.

On Super Sunday, SuperSport viewers are in for a treat, with Arsenal and Chelsea set to serve up a London derby in the day’s early kick-off.

By this stage, Gunners fans will have had the opportunity to glimpse how the team will take shape under former captain Arteta, but how will he fare in this tangle between two former Premier League midfield generals when Frank Lampard comes to the Emirates Stadium?

Also on Sunday, Liverpool host Wolves—one of the few teams who have beaten Klopp’s side over the last 12 months (which was in domestic Cup action)—as they look to extend their lead at the top of the table.

In the day’s late kick-off, City host Sheffield United—the surprise package of 2019 in the Premier League—as Pep Guardiola’s star-studded side look to avoid another banana skin.

Heading into the Boxing Day fixtures, the Merseysiders enjoy an 11-point advantage over the reigning champions, but will that gap become a chasm before 2020, or can City claw back some ground?

 

Fixtures

Thursday 26 December
Leicester vs Liverpool SS3 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)
 

Friday 27 December
Wolves vs Manchester City SS3 & SS10 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
 

Saturday 28 December
Burnley vs Manchester United SS3 Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
 

Sunday 29 December
Arsenal vs Chelsea SS3 Kickoff at 16:00 (CAT)
Liverpool vs Wolves SS3 Kickoff at 18:30 (CAT)
Manchester City vs Sheffield United SS3 Kickoff at 20:00 (CAT)