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Boxing Day Football Betting

26/12/2009
With the festive period serving up the traditional Christmas assortment of Premier League clashes, it is the third versus fourth meeting of Champions League hopefuls Arsenal and Aston Villa on December 27th that tops the bill.

The Villains make the trip to the Emirates Stadium - where they won 2-0 last season – on the back of a superb run of recent form and are currently priced at 9/2 to leave North London with all three points stuffed in their stockings.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have been coping admirably with long-term injuries to Robin van Persie, Gael Clichy and Thomas Rosicky and are the 8/11 favourites in the game. However, with both teams knowing that a loss could scupper their top four aspirations, a cagey 1-1 draw looks a decent shout at 7/1.

The same day, an improving Hull City entertain champions Manchester United at the KC Stadium, but Phil Brown’s men will have their work cut out if they are to contain a side still reeling from their 3-0 hammering at Fulham last week.

The Tigers are priced at a prohibitive 15/2 to inflict further humiliation on Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, so it’s hard to look past an away win (5/11) with the ever-reliable Wayne Rooney perhaps being the one to get the ball rolling by scoring first (7/2).

The day before sees a packed schedule of Boxing Day bust-ups, including local derbies between Fulham (19/10) and Tottenham (6/4), Burnley (11/8) and Bolton (11/5) and Wigan (13/10) and Blackburn (12/5). The first of this trio of fixtures will hold the most intrigue for neutrals, as two teams enjoying great seasons so far collide.

The match is incredibly hard to call, with Fulham seeking to build on their victory over United by upsetting another of the Premier League’s big-hitters, while Tottenham simply go from strength-to-strength under manager Harry Redknapp.

That said, the home side’s defence is strong at Craven Cottage, so a cheeky punt on them to edge this one to nil with the in-form Bobby Zamora as first scorer is the pick of speculative bets, and lumping it on a 1-0 scorecast could prove lucrative indeed.

In the other fixtures, one would expect Robert Mancini to get his new tenure at Manchester City off to a winning start against Stoke at Eastlands and the home side are 5/11 to do just that. With Robinho’s future cast into doubt under former manager Mark Hughes, it’s likely that the Brazilian will want to make a good first impression on the new boss and punters may do well backing him to get among the goals.

Liverpool (3/10), meanwhile, entertain Wolverhampton Wanderers (12/1) in a game that they simply must win and, following a talk with manager Rafa Benitez, they’ll be looking to Steven Gerrard to provide the inspiration with a captain’s performance. The Liverpool skipper is currently priced at 9/2 to open the scoring, while the same price can be found on the ever-improving David N’Gog finding the net first.

Despite their fantastic performances of late, Birmingham (13/2) look unlikely to take anything from the game with league leaders Chelsea (4/7), while inconsistencies at both clubs make a draw between Sunderland and Everton advisable at 12/5. That leaves only the relegation six-pointer between West Ham (6/5) and Portsmouth (13/5) left to be decided and with both teams putting in big performances last time out, an entertaining and high-scoring 2-2 draw is mighty tempting at 16/1.
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