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DREAM TEAM

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FESTIVE FRIGHT

Which clubs have the easiest and hardest festive fixtures?

We’re deep into December; a time to worry about your Christmas shopping, your lack of decorations and your Dream Team, of course.

The festive period is always a tricky one for Premier League teams, with games coming thick and fast.

This can especially be a nightmare for your Dream Team, so we’ve taken a look at which clubs have the best and worst schedules.


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Hardest – Leicester

Vardy will need to rediscover his shooting boots after a blank against Norwich

EPA
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Vardy will need to rediscover his shooting boots after a blank against Norwich

Are the wheels about to come off for Brendan Rodgers’ side?

Leicester’s brilliant winning run came to a halt at the weekend when Norwich held them, and it’s about to get a lot tougher.

They head to Man City on Saturday before another mouthwatering contest against Liverpool on Boxing Day.

After Christmas it’s two away games, at West Ham and Newcastle, which will really test the strength in depth of Rodgers’ squad.

Hard – Liverpool

Liverpool will be tested to the max

Reuters
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Liverpool will be tested to the max

Liverpool’s run isn’t that daunting on paper, but it’s more the fact they’re on a completely different continent this weekend that adds a complex element.

Leicester away on Boxing Day is a huge game in the title race mix up; a clash in which the Reds could effectively end the Foxes’ hopes.

After that they’ve got two horrible games against sides who fight for every ball until the very last minute, Wolves and Sheffield United.

Expect some weary legs on Merseyside and plenty of rotation as a result.

Quite hard – Arsenal

The Gunners could have been handed an easier new year

EPA
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The Gunners could have been handed an easier new year

Anything is ‘quite hard’ for Arsenal these days, but Christmas could definitely have been kinder.

Mikel Arteta is expected to be announced by the weekend and his first task will be a tricky encounter at former club Everton.

Then it’s another away day at Bournemouth on Boxing Day, before playing Chelsea and Man United back to back over the new year period.

If you still have any Gunners defenders in your Dream Team, act now…

Easiest – Crystal Palace

Is it time to turn to Palace stars?

Reuters
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Is it time to turn to Palace stars?

We’ve gone for Palace even though they don’t exactly blow teams away.

The Eagles have a pretty kind quartet in Crystal Palace, West Ham, Southampton and Norwich.

With Wilfried Zaha finding some form in front of goal and their defence keeping plenty of clean sheets, they could put a decent run together.

Easy – Aston Villa

Grealish and Villa can pick up some results

Reuters
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Grealish and Villa can pick up some results

Again with Villa, they aren’t going to tear teams apart but Dean Smith will be looking at the Christmas frenzy with some optimism.

They host Southampton and Norwich and then go to Watford and Burnley, so could easily pick up seven points in that spell.

Villa haven’t been as bad as their lowly position suggests but they’ll need to start converting their performances into results, led by the irrepressible Jack Grealish.

Quite easy – Man United

Will United finally start swatting away some of the ‘smaller’ teams?

AFP or licensors
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Will United finally start swatting away some of the ‘smaller’ teams?

The Man United complex.

They’ve taken more points from the five teams above them this season than the 14 teams below them, which is absolutely mental.

But there is the feeling they’re starting to find a bit more belief, particularly from Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay.

United go to Watford this weekend before games with Newcastle, Burnley and a trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day.