English Premier League Preview Boxing Day 2012 2

The Christmas Season is nigh upon us as we close in on the 1/2 way point of the season. The table is starting to take shape with the relegation dogfight in full swing while at the other end, the fight for title and Champions league places is hot and heavy.

English Premier League Preview Boxing Day 2012

English Premier League Preview Boxing Day 2012

These crucial run of 4 games over the Christmas and New Year Holiday period can make or break your season. A run of good form picking up points can steer you in the right direction, while run of bad results can doom your season. Either way, by the middle of January we’ll have a much better idea of how things are shaping up.

This weekends games were round one of the holiday period and some teams got off quite well, while others, not so much. At the top of the table, the leaders Manchester United, had a game of two dramatically different halves and came away with only a 1-1 draw against a resolute and determined Swansea side.

United were poor in the first half, but created enough chances to win the game comfortably in the 2nd, but failed to convert. The result keeps them in first place but, their lead drops to 4 points as second place Manchester City ground out a tough win over Reading with a Gareth Barry goal late in the game for a 1-0 win.

Arsenal, still having a bad run, in Arsene Wenger terms, escaped with a 1-0 win over Wigan, again scoring on a another controversial penalty kick where it appeared that Theo Walcott had dived in the box. The win gives Arsenal their 1st consecutive three game win streak since March and jumps them up into 4th place.

Other title challengers Chelsea pick up a stunning 8-0 win over Aston Villa, on the backs of their return from an unsuccessful Fifa World Club Cup. The win marks their 1st in 8 attempts and moves them up to 3rd place. The loss for Villa is a dramatic blow for a young side that appeared to be getting it on track.

The pack of clubs with hopes of achieving a Champions League spot came away with indifferent results. Spurs had a tough game against a resolute Stoke team splitting the points after a 0-0 draw. West Brom, finally get a win after a dip in results by beating Norwich 2-1, ending Norwich’s 10 game unbeaten streak. Liverpool get a great result beating a struggling Fulham side 4-0, and get back on track after their shock defeat last week. They move up to 8th and keep their hopes alive.

West Ham and Everton squared off in a rough and tumble affair, but the game was changed as a contest, after a poor refereeing decision, where West Ham’s Carleton Cole was sent off for an innocuous challenge. Everton got the result 2-1, amid another poor call as Everton’s Darren Gibson was shown a red for an equally weak challenge. The result moves them up to 5th spot, overtaking Spurs. While West Ham, drop to 12th.

The bottom 3 teams Reading, QPR and Wigan all come away without wins and are sliding deeper into relegation trouble, while above Southampton, Villa and even Sunderland, although not in the bottom 3, all are firmly entrenched in the relegation dogfight. Over the next 7 days, the rigors of playing 4 games in a short time will have a huge impact on the final standings and by mid January the chips will be staring to fall into place.