The Boxing Day fixture list is always one of the highlights in any football season, and this year is set to be no different with mouth-watering ties up and down the country. We’re hoping to capitalise on the day of football in style courtesy of an afternoon treble that pays out at just under 8/1.
We’ve picked three in-from sides to start the post-Christmas run in style. Let’s just hope they can all deliver the goods.
West Bromwich Albion v Everton
After equally difficult starts to the campaign,Premier League rivals West Brom and Everton have both changed managers in hopes of improved results. But while Sam Allardyce has sparked a major improvement from the Toffees, the Baggies still look very poor in spite of changing Tony Pulis for Alan Pardew.
The hosts are in the bottom three at Christmas and have registered just a single win from nine games at the Hawthorns. It’s now 18 games without a competitive win overall, and problems at both ends of the pitch have been telling.
Conversely, Everton are in their best form of the season. The Toffees have won four of their last six league games, with the other games being draws against Chelsea and Liverpool. They’re starting to look stronger in attack and far more organised at the back, finally showing their potential to be challenging for the Europa League spots.
No away game is easy in the Premier League, but at odds of over 2/1, the Toffees will hopefully help lead us to sweet success.
Wigan Athletic v Shrewsbury Town
In League One, the top two will trade Boxing Day blows at the DW Stadium. While Shrewsbury have been brilliant this season, the trip to Wigan is sure to be their most difficult challenge to date. Frankly, they may not have enough to stop the league leading Latics.
Wigan have been brilliant on home turf, winning eight and drawing two of 11 games. Paul Cook’s men have additionally scored 21 and conceded just four in that time while they enter this vital clash on the back of a huge 7-0 away win at Oxford, which itself was preceded by a 4-0 triumph at Wimbledon. Will Girgg and co. are simply on fire.
Paul Hurst’s Shrews have picked up a couple of decent wins too, but they cannot match the swagger of Wigan. Stefan Payne and Shaun Whalley certainly know where the goal is, which can inspire some optimism. Nonetheless,their away record is good rather than spectacular, and that could shine through here.
It would be very difficult to see the hosts not going up this season. Back them to take another huge step against their biggest title rival.
Tranmere Rovers v AFC Fylde
National League side Tranmere will be a little disappointed with their current position, but Micky Mellon’s will still be eying a potential play-off spot. If they can start the post-Christmas push in the same fashion that the ended the pre-Christmas one, they’ll have every chance, starting with a win against Fylde.
The Super White Army showed their quality with a great win at Sutton United on Saturday to register a third straight win and have found form at just the right time. A return of 10 goals in that period suggests that they’ll have too much for the visitors, who have shipped 29 goals this term.
Fylde are performing better than many people expected, and should stay up. Nonetheless, a five game winless streak in all competitions has seen Dave Challinor’s men lose a little momentum. They may need to wait a little longer before regaining it too, because the trip to Prenton Park will be tough.
Given the form of the respective sides, a home win looks likely.