Weblog: The football punter

Festive period no time to sit on the fence

It's never too early to start saving up for next Christmas and I'm getting a strange sensation as I look down the Boxing Day Premier League coupon.

Yes, it's partly severe bloating after a breakfast of cold chipolatas dipped in brandy butter but I'm also supremely confident about getting stuck into a few favourites.

Usually there's a couple of trappy top-flight games that you wouldn't touch with a bargepole but the coupon is littered with clear-cut jollies.

All we need to do is decide whether to have an eightfold, a ninefold or the full ten-team accumulator while the kids are writing out their wishlists for Christmas 2015.

Alright, it may not be quite as simple as that. Let's put a line through Liverpool at resurgent Burnley and Everton at home to Stoke – the Toffees can't be trusted at odds-on.

If QPR's losing run away from home is going to end anywhere it'll be at Arsenal. Chelsea and Manchester United are short enough for their clashes with West Ham and Newcastle.

I've reduced my potential winnings enough now so let's stick the other five favourites in a tasty acca.

Usually I'd be wary of backing Tottenham at skinny odds away from home but Leicester's form is worse than Nigel Pearson's language so there's no danger there.

The same applies to Sunderland to beat Hull and Swansea at home to Aston Villa, who I'm reliably informed have won only three of their last 22 Boxing Day games. Reckon they must have the same December 26 breakfast as I do.

Manchester City are purring, even without Sergio Aguero, and they'll be too good for West Brom at The Hawthorns while Southampton should take the points at Crystal Palace, who don't look like they'll score a goal before Easter.

So there you go – all ten Premier League puzzles solved. There's no sitting on the fence from Billy Bunter. Fortunately for the fence...

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Match in Focus

12:45 Fr 26Dec SS1

Chelsea v West Ham

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • West Ham have failed to score in just two of their 17 games this season
Expert verdict
Stamford Bridge has returned to being the fortress it was in Jose Mourinho's first spell at the helm with Chelsea boasting a perfect eight home wins from eight in the Premier League. However, West Ham have failed to score in just two games this campaign and should make life uncomfortable for the hosts before class tells.