In the days leading up to Christmas, and on the big day itself, we are all occasionally guilty of letting festivities get the better of us.
With a pretty packed Premier League schedule coming up, it makes sense for punters to get their selections in place prior to the trials, tribulations and occasional torture that last-minute shopping and eating dry turkey presents.
So, here’s your bookmarkable guide to the Boxing Day fixtures:
Watford vs Crystal Palace (12:30pm)
The lunch-time kick-off is a bit of a disappointment from the point of view of an armchair spectator, but we can still treat this as a kind of duck pâté starter prior to the turkey being carved.
Watford have lost four of their last five matches, which rather belies their healthy league position, and their inconsistency on home soil (W4 D1 L3) is in danger of curtailing any ambition they may have had of a top ten finish.
Palace are in the doldrums, we know that, but here’s a side that has scored in 13/16 Premier League outings this term. They aren’t experiencing any failings in the final third, and with the Hornets failing to keep a clean sheet since October we have to hand some kind of favouritism to the Eagles.
At a price of 19/20 with a +0.25 Asian Handicap, get behind Alan Pardew’s men on Monday.
Arsenal vs West Brom (3pm)
Arsenal are smarting after a pair of away defeats at Everton and Manchester City, a run which has derailed their title tilt quite considerably. With righteous anger bubbling under the surface and a return to the Emirates Stadium, this is not a good time to be playing the Gunners.
Step forward West Brom, who will curtail their festivities to tackle an opponent that is smarting right now. The Baggies have been good recently, although a rather lacklustre performance against Manchester United last time out has taken the shine of a fine few months for Tony Pulis’ side.
That was the second time in the month that West Brom have lost to quality operators after their 0-1 reverse at Stamford Bridge, so we have to anticipate home win. Without Shkodran Mustafi they could be vulnerable defensively however, so Arsenal to Win & Both Teams to Score at 7/4 seems a fair investment as a result.
Burnley vs Middlesbrough (3pm)
We could bill this as something of a relegation six-pointer, although there is plenty in the performances of these two sides to suggest that they will survive the fall through the trapdoor come May.
If Burnley are to avoid relegation then their home form needs to be maintained, because on the road, well, they are hopeless (W0 D1 L7). That brings with it a certain amount of pressure, and with Middlesbrough being excellent last time out in hammering Swansea perhaps we need to keep an open mind here.
Even so, the Clarets have won more than half of their home matches this term, and so backing Burnley in the Draw No Bet market at 10/11 seems more than fair.
Chelsea vs Bournemouth (3pm)
Chelsea will have to make do without the suspended Diego Costa for this match, and having won their last trio of outings 1-0 clearly the Spaniard’s absence is going to severely limit the Blues’ firepower in front of goal.
The good news for them is that Bournemouth, despite being an enterprising outfit, are wretched away from home (W1 D2 L5). The Chelsea to Win & Under 2.5 Goals market at 13/5 appears tantalisingly underpriced.
Leicester vs Everton (3pm)
Just how well will Everton respond to that heartbreaking injury time defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday night? The last thing they need is to be away from friends and family at Christmas, and this long trip south to Leicester is hardly ideal.
Four defeats in as many games on the road will fuel further concern for the Toffees, and the Foxes’ comeback from 0-2 down with ten men to nick a point at Stoke will have felt like a victory.
There’s a certain temptation in backing Leicester outright at 11/8 then, but the Draw No Bet s the safer wager at 4/6.
Manchester United vs Sunderland (3pm)
A return for David Moyes to Old Trafford, and the Sunderland boss will be reasonably pleased with the form of his charges in recent times. Four wins in seven, backed by battling defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea, shows that the Scot has got his team playing how he wants, and they should head to Manchester with no fear.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored seven of United’s last eleven goals, which identifies a) how good he is, but b) how little his teammates are contributing. Stop Zlatan and you might just stop United.
The Black Cats rarely get completely overwhelmed as one-goal defeats to Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea testifies, so back Sunderland with a +1.25 Asian Handicap at 6/4 here.
Swansea vs West Ham (3pm)
A trip to Wales is not exactly how the Hammers had prepared on spending Christmas, but at least they can take festive good cheer from the fact that the Swans have conceded eleven goals in their last four starts.
Mind you, they have been decent enough at home of late (W2 D1 L1), with those four home encounters recording a tally of 16 goals. West Ham have a goal in them but allowed Hull to hit their woodwork three times at the weekend; Over 2.5 Goals at 4/5 is the way to go here.
Hull City vs Manchester City (5:15pm)
Manchester City must not rest on their laurels here: they have a game with Liverpool on December 31, but this is a Hull side that could and perhaps deserved to have battered West Ham at the weekend.
Pep Guardiola will no doubt make changes, and Hull – decent at home – will benefit. Both Teams to Score is the play here at 10/11.