The show must go on despite a few interruptions along the way due to the latest variant to be discovered. As always, we take a look at 10 matches worth having a punt on this festive season, in hope of making a few extra bucks before opening our gifts on Christmas Day.
Aston Villa v Burnley (Saturday)
Steven Gerrard has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival at Aston Villa, winning all but two games he’s taken charge of the Villans, with both defeats coming against Manchester City and Liverpool. Villa now finds itself in the top half of the table and looks comfortable ahead of what is to be a busy festive schedule. Burnley is stuck in the relegation zone, winning just once all season.
Real Sociedad v Vallarreal (Saturday)
Real Sociedad have dropped down the table in the Spanish La Liga after a run of four games without victory. In that period, Sociedad suffered three consecutive defeats. Villarreal is yet to win a game away from home in the league this term and currently sits in the bottom half of the standings. The hosts have the joint-best defensive record at their turf, while Villarreal has scored just four times on the road.
Rayo Vallecano v Alaves (Saturday)
Rayo Vallecano has endured a remarkable season to date and currently boasts the record of having the best home form, winning seven of their eight matches played at their turf. In the one game, they didn’t win, Rayo Vallecano drew 0-0 against Celta Vigo. Alaves are winless in four games and are seated in the 16th spot.
Bayern Munich v Wolfsburg (Friday)
Wolfsburg has the unwanted task of facing Bayern Munich this Friday. The visitors languish in the bottom half of the table after a run of four consecutive defeats. Bayern Munich, on the other hand, has won four matches in a row and sits atop the standings in the German Bundesliga. The hosts and champions have scored 52 times in 16 matches this campaign and should continue their riot here.
RB Leipzig v Arminia Bielefeld (Saturday)
It’s been a disappointing campaign for RB Leipzig, who failed to live up to their previous success of being in and around the UEFA Champions League spots. Now, the hosts are in the bottom half of the Bundesliga with just six wins to their name. Fortunately, all victories have come at home soil, scoring 25 goals in the process – the second highest in the division. The visitors are deep into the relegation zone, earning 13 points from 16 matches.
Lazio v Genoa (Friday)
Lazio has been inconsistent this term but still finds itself in the top half of the standings. The hosts have won just one of their last five league encounters, but have had no difficulty in finding the back of the net. At home, only Inter Milan has scored more times than Lazio, although their defensive record leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, Lazio has scored 33 goals, shipping in 32.
AC Milan v Napoli (Sunday)
In what looks to be the most entertaining tie of this weekend’s Italian Serie A action, AC Milan host Napoli as both sides look to cement their spot in the top four. Milan is just a point behind their local rivals, Inter, while Napoli dropped down to fourth in the standings after a run of three games without a win, including back-to-back defeats.
Braga v Belenenses (Sunday)
Braga seems to be losing ground on the top three teams in Portugal, although a great opportunity to close the gap presents itself when they host Belenenses this Sunday. The visitors are rock bottom on the table and are yet to win away from home. Braga has scored 15 times at home this term, the second-highest in the division.
AZ Alkmaar v Willem II (Saturday)
AZ Alkmaar has turned the corner in recent outings and looks to have their season back on track. The hosts have won three games in succession and are riding a five-match unbeaten run. Willem II are winless in nine league encounters, losing their last sixties. A complete turnaround to the way they had first started the season.