Tottenham have by far the best record in the Premier League’s festive fixtures over the past five years, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool predictably completing the top six.
While it will come as no surprise to learn those six teams have claimed the most points in these games, Spurs’ record is quite remarkable. The Lilywhites have not lost a game over this period since December 2008, when they were beaten 2-0 at West Brom.
Over the past five seasons, they’ve won 16 and drawn four of their 20 matches, picking up 52 points. Manchester City have the next best record, claiming 47 points, but they have lost three of their 20 games, as have Chelsea and Manchester United.
The festive period has been defined as the game immediately before Christmas day and the three games afterwards, before the FA Cup third round gets underway in January.
Bournemouth have been strong in recent seasons around this time, but that includes results in both the Championship and League 1. Premier League newcomers Brighton and Huddersfield can also boast good Christmas results from their time in the Championship.
Roy Hodson, meanwhile, will be hoping Crystal Palace can improve on their recent festive record, with the league’s current bottom team having won only two of their last 20 games in this period, scoring just 13 goals in that time. Rafa Benitez will also be praying his Newcastle side can improve their Christmas results, which has seen them lose 12 of their last 20 matches.
If you’re after a Christmas cracker this season, look no further than Stoke, whose recent festive games have produced 66 goals. Stay clear of Selhurst Park, though, if you’re after entertainment, as Palace’s matches have only averaged just over two goals a game.
Manchester City may be annoyed their fixture scheduling means they won’t be playing on Boxing Day, having won each of their last four games on that date, stretching back to 2012.
Leicester and West Brom on the other hand will both be slightly nervous going into their Boxing Day fixtures; both have lost their last three and failed to even score in the last two.
Christmas falling on a Monday this year means the Premier League fixture schedule will be even tougher than normal, with teams due to play a fixture on Saturday December 23, followed by a further games between the 26th and the beginning of the FA Cup on the first weekend in January.
With such a tough schedule, it would take a brave man on betting against the top six from the last five seasons to be the best performers again this year, with their larger squads better placed to handle the fatigue and increase in workload.
Looking at this season’s festive fixtures, Arsenal appeared to have been given the gentlest workload. They will play their four fixtures over the space of 13 days, with at least a two-day gap in between each.
West Ham and Tottenham also have 13 days for their 4 games, but they both play on January 2 and then have just a single day’s rest before playing each other on January 4.
Just under half of Premier league teams face the unenviable task of participating in four games over a 10-day period. The unlucky sides are Brighton, Bournemouth, Burnley, Everton, Huddersfield, Leicester, Manchester United, Newcastle and Stoke.
With regards to difficulty of opposition, Burnley look to have the toughest schedule, with home games against Tottenham and Liverpool either side of trips to Manchester United and Huddersfield.
Tottenham on the other hand stand a good chance of maintaining their recent unbeaten record, with Mauricio Pochettino’s side travelling to Burnley and Swansea, whilst welcoming Southampton and West Ham to Wembley.
Swansea fans, meanwhile, will be the most well-travelled over the holidays, with two 350 mile+ round trips to Liverpool and Watford.
The 12 points to play for doesn’t sound a lot in relation to an entire season, but having a strong Christmas can be crucial in giving teams a springboard for the rest of the season.
After all, Chelsea won all six of their December fixtures last year, and their season didn’t end too badly.
By Dan Clark
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