Premier League: Willian leads footballing bonanza…

The Premier League offers up a footballing feast this New Year’s Day, with practically a full fixture list. The day starts with Chelsea traveling south to take on Brighton.

Chelsea have an impressive record versus Brighton in the league, winning all nine of their meetings, but this team is very difficult to predict. They were great against Spurs and in the second half versus Arsenal, but were poor at home against Southampton and Bournemouth. You never really know what you’re going to get. Brighton have been strong here at the Amex Stadium, winning four of their last seven. So this is a tricky game to predict.

We’re going to leave the result alone but note that Willian scored against Brighton in September. The Brazilian has been playing well of late, and we’ll take him to net again today.

Newcastle host Leicester later in the afternoon, and all eyes will be on the Foxes to see whether they can bounce back from back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Liverpool.

The signs are good. Newcastle have hit a bump in the road, losing three of their last four games, while Leicester welcome back Jamie Vardy to the fold after being allowed a rest to celebrate the birth of his new baby girl.

Vardy has been exceptional this season, scoring 17 league goals while notching two or more on four occasions – including in this reverse fixture. We’ll take him to celebrate in style with a brace.

Manchester City host Everton in the early evening, desperately needing to win again to try and eat into Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table.

Everton have been impressive since new manager Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival, but this is a tough task. We expect City to come out flying today, playing a full strength side and looking for a comprehensive win.

Sergio Aguero is back and hungry for goals, and we’ll take him to score a brace today.

Finally, the big game of the day – Arsenal versus Manchester United.

There have been some early signs that Mikel Arteta is working at the Emirates, as Arsenal were good against Chelsea for long spells on Sunday. But when the pressure came on defensively they folded again.

The worry from an Arsenal point of view is that United are built to counterattack and Arsenal are built to concede from counterattacks. We think there will be goals tonight, probably at both ends, but we don’t trust the Arsenal defence enough at this point to suggest a home win.

We’re going to take a punt with this game. Harry Maguire is an extremely imposing figure in both boxes and is due a goal for his new club. With Arsenal having defensive injuries – Callum Chambers looks likely to miss this game – we’re going to take a chance Maguire scores with his head tonight at the lofty price of 25/1.

Recommendations:

Brighton/Chelsea: Willian to score anytime, 1 pt, at 3/1, Unibet

Newcastle/Leicester: Vardy to score a brace, 1 pt, at 9/2, SkyBet

Manchester City/Everton: Aguero to score a brace, 1 pt, at 7/2, William Hill

Arsenal/Manchester United: Maguire to score a header, 1 pt, at 25/1, SkyBet

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