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The Festive Football Thread

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Sunday, 26 December 2010Fulham v West Ham, 12:00

ss1.gifBlackburn v Stoke, 15:00Blackpool v Liverpool, 15:00Bolton v West Brom, 15:00Everton v Birmingham, 15:00Man Utd v Sunderland, 15:00Newcastle v Man City, 15:00Wolverhampton v Wigan, 15:00Aston Villa v Tottenham, 17:30 ss1.gifMonday, 27 December 2010Arsenal v Chelsea, 20:00 ss1.gifTuesday, 28 December 2010Man City v Aston Villa, 15:00Stoke v Fulham, 15:00Sunderland v Blackpool, 15:00Tottenham v Newcastle, 15:00West Brom v Blackburn, 15:00West Ham v Everton, 17:30 ss1.gifBirmingham v Man Utd, 20:00 ss1.gifWednesday, 29 December 2010Chelsea v Bolton, 19:45Wigan v Arsenal, 19:45Liverpool v Wolverhampton, 20:00 ss1.gif

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Weather-permitting, Manchester United could potentially end Boxing Day with a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League if they defeat Sunderland, but neighbours Manchester City will aim to ensure that does not happen when visiting Newcastle.With second-placed Arsenal not in action until their London derby against defending champions Chelsea, who sit fourth, on Monday, Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United could strengthen their position at the summit against Sunderland. The Old Trafford club occupy top spot at Christmas, with a game in hand, and they could have a significant lead at the end of the weekend. But Sunderland, managed by former United captain Steve Bruce, will arrive with their own ambitions of reinforcing European credentials after an excellent first half of the season.Manchester City could make sure bitter rivals United do not begin to impose themselves at the top if Roberto Mancini's men can inflict a first defeat on Alan Pardew at Newcastle. City's loss to Everton meant they missed out on top spot and left them trailing United by two points and Arsenal by goal difference. Billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour will therefore be expecting a response when his club visit St James' Park. However, due to last weekend's postponements, Pardew has still only been in charge for one match and after an impressive victory over Liverpool he will hope that his honeymoon period continues.Boxing Day's matches begin with rock-bottom West Ham travelling to fellow strugglers and Londoners Fulham in search of their first away league win of the season, with the lunchtime kick-off available on Sky Sports HD1/1. The survival chances of Avram Grant's side are bleak, according to sceptics, but the Hammers could move level on points with their hosts if they win at Craven Cottage. Under-pressure Fulham boss Mark Hughes has seen his side hampered by a lack of goals and he will therefore be desperate for a little festive fortune.The second live offering on Sky Sports HD1/1 sees Tottenham take on Aston Villa at Villa Park in the teatime match. Fifth-placed Spurs have been touted as title contenders, but they are beginning to slip off the pace and if results do not go their way Harry Redknapp and his men could find themselves as low as seventh. Villa boss Gerard Houllier needs to win over his doubters after disappointing results and reports of training ground bust-ups. A victory against Tottenham would go some way to easing the pressure after only two league wins since the end of September.Villa's Midlands rivals, Wolves, are experiencing a similarly frustrating season and Mick McCarthy's side are stuck in the relegation zone in the build-up to what has been dubbed a 'six-pointer' against fellow drop-zone occupants Wigan. Two wins in their last three matches have added optimism ahead of kick-off at Molineux, but McCarthy will be aware that this game could be decisive come the end of the season. Eighteenth-placed Wigan are only one point above Wolves after taking just two points from a potential 12 in their last outings.After the cancellation of their meeting with Manchester United, Blackpool will be desperate for Bloomfield Road to survive the elements to enable their match against Liverpool to go ahead. Hosting the big names of English football in league action would have been a mere dream for the Seasiders a couple of years ago amid their struggles in League One. So Liverpool, despite October's visit of Manchester City, will provide the first box-office, traditional heavyweight club of the season. The Reds are of course not the force that they once were and they will arrive hoping to avoid an embarrassing pair of losses to last season's Championship play-off winners after suffering defeat at Anfield almost three months ago. The game is subject to a Noon pitch inspection.Steve Kean takes charge of Blackburn for a second match as Stoke provide the opposition at the end of a week in which the Scot was told he would be manager of the Ewood Park club until June. The decision of Blackburn's new owners, Venky's, to sack Sam Allardyce and put faith in Kean has proved to be controversial among fans so it will be hoped that there are reasons to be cheerful against Stoke. The former Fulham, Real Sociedad and Coventry assistant boss has been charged with giving Blackburn's on-field style a facelift, but this could prove difficult against the tactics of Tony Pulis, who has in the past faced similar route-one, rough-house tactical accusations. Stoke sit in 13th spot and trail Blackburn by one position and point.Owen Coyle's Bolton could return to the fifth position they occupied earlier in the winter if they defeat West Brom at the Reebok Stadium and other results go their way. Bolton have been the surprise package of the season and the rejuvenating work of Coyle could be a blueprint for Kean at Blackburn. But pre-season relegation favourites West Brom have also surpassed expectations as Roberto Di Matteo's team sit in 11th position and level on points with the likes of Liverpool and Newcastle. The Baggies will therefore travel north in a confident frame of mind and hoping to continue to prove their critics wrong.On the back of their victory over Manchester City, Everton will host Birmingham at Goodison Park hoping that the win at Eastlands can prove a belated springboard in a misfiring season. David Moyes had eyes on the European places at the start of the season, but the Toffees are currently only five points above the bottom three. Alex McLeish's Birmingham have far greater relegation concerns going into the second half of the season and the Midlanders need to address a winless record on their travels.

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How many friggin games will be called off today? Feels like its been forever since we had any football.

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im guessing blackpool game will be called offbut cant wait for some football

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And its off. Re-arranged for 12th January. well, we have had an xmas break.Everton and Brum off as well.

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I mean who actually wants to watch SPL period

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Villa Spurs should be on. No snow by me today./Hangeland and Euthu - SMH

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Since there Brazil like performance against us in the Cup West Ham have been on some mesmeric riseDon't know how they manage it, such a sh*t side

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Eddie Johnson up front you know... EDDIE f*ck*ng johnson.

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Carlton Cole scores his first ever Premier League brace. :D :D :D

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need to start fining blackpoolthey're taking the piss really, every PL club should have undersoil.

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if you realised where Blackpool come from you'd realise why as ridiculous as it seems they dont have undersoil heating, if you take into account also how much they had to invest in their ground to upgrade it to Premier league regulartions you'll also realies the work they've put in,

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Not having undersoil heating in 2010 is a joke.Teams in the Belgian league are getting 5-0 defeats if games are postponed due to a frozen pitch./I'm slyly grateful we're not playing.

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Utd playing some great stuffshould be 4-0If im being brutally honest Rooney is booging up the play n mesing it up

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the first 15 minutes of this game was the best United spell ive seen since we demolished Villa at OT couple seasons ago. Rooney's got serious problems.

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