As we dive into the draining festive period, the stronger clubs with bigger squads are better able to manage the exhausting workload and inflict some truly festive defeats on the weak. So here are our picks to catch fire as a country freezes…
Premier League 2up and win betting predictions – our picks
Sheffield United vs Liverpool
Former Blades’ boss Chris Wilder’s assistant Paul Heckingbottom has been at the helm since 2021. To say Heckingbottom has been unable to recapture the stunning form that propelled the club into 5th place at this stage of 2019/20 would be an understatement.
United have conceded the most goals in the league, and have suffered without several of the key men that were so crucial to their promotion campaign: Sander Berge and Ilman Ndiaye. The results have been telling, as Burnley fell to a crushing 5-0 defeat on Saturday afternoon.
Returning to 2019/20, Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool on the way to looking as potent as they were in that ‘peak Gegengress' side, which ended 30 years of waiting for the grand prize.
They are not as tight defensively, but Liverpool have capably replaced the attacking guile and output of Mané and Firmino with talents like Szoboszlai, Diaz and Gakpo. Though they are not the league’s top scorers, the Reds have the best xG in the league with 27.5 in 13 games.
With only one win this season, and the worst defence in the league, Sheffield United could well be on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline against a resurgent Liverpool, even with the Bramall Lane crowd behind them.
Wolves vs Burnley
This year has been a rollercoaster for Wolves. After beating the drop despite being bottom last Christmas, then-manager Julen Lopetegui was hailed as a hero. But with little in the way of backing from club owners Fosun International, and the departures of Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes, he departed.
Gary O’Neil was drafted in, and Wolves have defied expectations under his watch to sit a healthy 13th place going into the first full week of December, with scintillating home wins over Manchester City and Spurs being a big part of that.
Burnley have struggled this campaign. Their fortunes improved on Sunday as they blew away a 10-man Sheffield United 5-0 at Turf Moor, but it was only their second win of the season, and they still sit firmly in the drop zone.
After a trying trip to Arsenal, and with Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes back from suspension, Wolves will look to let off some attacking steam and bring yet more excitement to Molineux.
Luton Town vs Arsenal
The Hatters welcome two formidable opponents back to back, in Arsenal and Manchester City, for what will be a true test of their Premier League mettle.
Luton recorded their first home win at Kenilworth Road in recent weeks against Crystal Palace, so the famously compact ground will be rocking as they attempt to slay two of the Premier League's giants in the space of a week.
Arsenal come first, and will be keen to record a comprehensive victory ahead of tough trips away to Aston Villa and Liverpool in their next three.
The Gunners are not the swashbuckling side they were last season, with opponents sitting in compact deep blocks more often and denying the likes of Saka, Martinelli and Jesus the space they need to fully thrive.
To their credit, however, Arsenal have made up for this drop off with an impeccable defensive record. Arsenal have shown that they can still put sides to the sword in any case, with a recent 6-0 win over Lens, as well as an impressive display of creativity against Wolves on Saturday, even if the Gunners were profligate in front of goal.
Arteta’s men will be confident of taking a two goal lead at Kenilworth Road to continue their title charge.
See also: Our latest Premier League tips