THE festive season has arrived! And with it, a gluttony of football matches. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) has shared his three favourite Boxing Day picks.
Chelsea v West Ham | Boxing Day 12:45 | Sky Sports 1
As someone who backed West Ham to get relegated at the start of the season (hey, where you going?!) I’ve been amazed how their season has gone. Being in the Top 4 on Christmas Day is an incredible achievement for Sam Allardyce’s side and they deserve all the plaudits they receive.
However I think they’ll struggle in this Boxing Day encounter with Chelsea. Despite only losing two of their eight away league matches this season, the Hammers have only beaten sides in the current bottom six on their travels. In fact, the only sides they’ve gleaned any points from away from home are bottom eight sides.
Flip the coin, and let’s just stare in wonderment at Chelsea’s home record. The Blues have played eight league matches at Stamford Bridge this season and won them all. Six of those wins were won to nil, while seven of them came with more than a goal to spare.
The latter angle is how I’m approaching this game. I think Chelsea can win by more than one goal. West Ham have found it hard playing away to the bigger sides and I think that will continue on Boxing Day. 10/11 with Paddy Power for Chelsea -1 to go in appeals to me.
Swansea v Aston Villa | Boxing Day 15:00
Aston Villa have done well in recent weeks haven’t they? Up in 12th after wins against Crystal Palace and Leicester and draws against the likes of Manchester United and West Ham. Paul Lambert’s side have lost just one game in six.
Despite being in the Top 6 of the Away Table, Villa have only scored four goals away from home all season! They certainly keep things tight on the road.
Having said all that, I’m taking them on on Boxing Day. They travel to Swansea, and Garry Monk’s side have a superb record at The Liberty. The Swans are in the Top 6 of the Home Table after scoring 14 goals and losing just twice in nine matches.
As well as beating Arsenal at The Liberty, they’ve also been too strong for teams like Aston Villa. West Brom, QPR, Burnley and Leicester have all been taken out in Wales and I think you’ll be able to add Villa to that list after this game.
Coral are going 4/5 for a Swansea home victory and I’ll be investing in that whilst fighting off a monster hangover.
West Brom v Man City | Boxing Day 15:00
I’m going to back a bet that rewarded me last weekend here, and that’s getting with the champions -1.
Things aren’t too hunky-dory at West Brom just now with Alan Irvine under pressure from fans. On Saturday they surrendered a 2-0 lead to QPR to go down 3-2, and that must hurt all concerned with the club.
Man City on the other hand seem liberated by the fact they’ve reached the Champions League Last 16. Their sensational double win against Bayern Munich and Roma is the star attraction of a run of eight straight wins.
Away from the Etihad they haven’t lost since October and they’ve now kept four consecutive clean sheets. The -1 bet has paid out in four of their last six matches.
I think Man City are purring just now. They’re glistening with confidence and festive jollity. I’m happy to back them at 6/4 with BetBright to beat struggling West Brom by more than one goal.
Chelsea v West Ham – Chelsea -1 (10/11 Paddy Power)
Swansea v Aston Villa – Swansea to win (4/5 Coral)
West Brom v Man City – Man City -1 (6/4 BetBright)