Chelsea Seeking Return to Form on Boxing Day

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Despite some postponements there's still plenty of Premier League action to look forward to on Boxing Day.

Thomas Tuchel will be eager to see his Chelsea side go on a winning run after a tricky spell

The festive football programme has taken a bit of a hit, but Boxing Day remains one of the highlights of the whole campaign and there should be some decent Premier League action to enjoy.

Chelsea will be looking to make up some ground in the title race, although they face what looks a tricky trip to Aston Villa, who have made decent progress under new manager Steven Gerrard.

It could be a big afternoon in the chase for a top-four spot too as Arsenal have a good chance to boost their credentials with a trip to struggling Norwich, while West Ham will be looking for three points against Southampton after losing their way recently.

Tottenham, who have similar ambitions and games in hand, will be eyeing a home victory against Crystal Palace.

Blues Have Slipped Off the Pace

The Premier League battle looks set to be fierce this year and Chelsea will feel they need to get back into it after Thomas Tuchel’s side drew with Everton and Wolves recently.

The Blues are six points behind leaders Manchester City and there are no guarantees that they will get back to winning ways at Aston Villa, despite being 20/31 for victory.

Steven Gerrard’s side are now firmly in mid-table after the wobble that cost his predecessor Dean Smith his job, and they have proved they can mix it with the big boys after good performances in narrow defeats to Liverpool and City.

They have won their other four games under Gerrard and could tempt a few punters at 5/2.

However, the goals markets could be of particular interest here.

Both teams to score is 10/11 and that has happened in four of the last five league meetings, while those who fancy over 2.5 goals at 21/20 will be encouraged that this has happened in five of Villa’s last six home games.

Gunning for a Champions League Spot

After suffering three defeats in four games, Arsenal’s quest to make next season’s Champions League looked in peril, but Mikel Arteta’s team have recovered well.

Home wins over Southampton and West Ham steadied the ship and they were dominant in a 4-1 win over injury-hit Leeds last week.

The Gunners are 5/13 to win at Norwich, who have struggled all season and have lost their last three games, but punters may be mindful that Arsenal have conceded 17 goals on the road this season.

Both teams to score is available at Evens and bettors may also want to consider backing Arsenal to win and both teams to score at 37/20.

Faltering Hammers Need to Get Back on Track

West Ham fans were celebrating a 3-2 win over Chelsea at the beginning of the month but that has been their only win in their last six league matches and they are losing ground in the race for fourth spot.

However, their home form is good with Tottenham and Liverpool also leaving the London Stadium empty-handed in recent weeks, so they could have plenty of support at 5/6 to beat Southampton.

The Saints are 16/5 to take three points but Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have not tasted Premier League victory since Bonfire Night and this could be a good chance for the Hammers to get back on track.

Tottenham Looming in Race for Top-Four Spot

Spurs have had a host of postponements recently, but they have been galvanised by the appointment of Antonio Conte and are playing with a lot more pace and strength than they did under his predecessor Nuno.

A 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace was one of the most disappointing afternoons of the campaign and they look well placed to gain revenge.

Tottenham are 20/29 to win or there may be a preference for them to win to nil at 37/20 as while Palace gained a notable 2-0 victory at Manchester City, they failed to find the net in defeats to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post
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