The festive period has always been a busy one for English football, and this year is no different. The upcoming week will see the Premier League play on Boxing Day, then again over the weekend, and then once again on New Year’s Day – three rounds of fixtures condensed into one action-packed week. This is, of course, a long-standing tradition – Christmas and the New Year just do not feel the same without football. Of course, jam-packed weeks like this one bring the opportunity to ‘earn’ some extra Christmas cheer, if you will. Fans can use betting houses such as bet365 through betting and mobile betting, via mobile apps – the system requirements of the app are minimal.
Manchester United have had a topsy-turvy season, which can be seen in their record against top-six sides and then against the rest of the league. United have yet to lose a game against a top-six side (considering Leicester City as part of this group given their position in the table), having picked up 14 points from six games in the league, while also beating Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. However, they have only garnered 11 points from the other 11 games against so-called ‘weaker’ sides, only beating Norwich and Brighton while falling to defeats against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Newcastle. This shows the next level to which Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men need to aspire – the counter-attacking style of football he espouses is perfect against the bigger teams, but United have regularly struggled when facing opponents who put men behind the ball and deny space for the Red Devils’ pacey forwards to run into. United are currently 8th in the league table, four points behind Chelsea in fourth. This is not an insurmountable gap by any means, and Chelsea’s recent struggles have made it possible for United to put a run of form together and put pressure on the London side. After the Watford match, their next three games in the league are against Newcastle (h), Burnley (a) and Arsenal (a). On paper, all three of these games are winnable – Newcastle and Burnley have been solid but unspectacular, while Arsenal are in a state of flux having just appointed Mikel Arteta as their new manager. Solskjær needs to start picking up wins against the weaker sides if he wants United back in the Champions League places, and the festive period offers the perfect opportunity for this.
For punters who want to make some extra money over Christmas, United are priced at 1.33 for the Newcastle game and at 1.90 for the Burnley match. Despite being only four points off fourth place, they are at 4.50 to finish in the top four, which could represent good value if United can put together a sustained run of form in the league. United are also at 7.00 to win the Europa League, while their semi-final match-up against City in the Carabao Cup means that they are priced at 5.50 to win that competition. These odds reflect the uncertainty that prevails around United at the moment, which is why it could be a good idea to lock in some of these prices if they begin to exhibit some consistent form.