Since the start of the festive fixture period on December 21st, I have traversed the southern part of America’s Midwest. From my home near Omaha Nebraska to Houston Texas, I covered roughly 925 miles each way by motor carriage. It was a challenge to fit in all the sights and attractions, plus the Christmas holiday, plus my writing duties, and a plethora of soccer matches during a single trip. The latter ranked last on my priorities. I even wrote a large portion of my Airing of Grievances article in the back seat of a minivan, under shroud of night during the first leg of our journey. It has been eventful to say the least. Fittingly, and thankfully, I will have the comfort and joy of my own domicile to close out 2018. In conjunction, I will have the opportunity to finally enjoy some festive football to ring in the new calendar year.
While I would love to provide an assist in the news and analysis department, doing so at this moment would be imprudent. Luckily, the hard work has already been done by my colleagues as we closeout this season’s festive fixture schedule. New Year’s Day begins a three-day slate that climaxes with a Championship six-pointer between Liverpool and Manchester City. Elsewhere on the card, the four remaining Big Six clubs face fruitful match ups against the more woeful defenses in the league, pressing FPL managers to get their armband selection exactly right, all the while hoping that clean sheets can make a comeback following some recently uncharacteristic defensive play at the top of the table.
The first game of the 2019 calendar presents a quagmire of entertainment for those who tune in. The sporadic nature of Everton and Leicester could see any sort of result, ranging from 0-0 to 3-3, and possibly beyond, depending on each team’s mood. From the other mid-table sides, the scoring prospects in the Bournemouth and Watford match has all the elements of a standout game for fantasy points. The biggest questions will surround Watford’s willingness to show up, and whether the Bournemouth star is starting to dim after their radiant start. After being tripped up over the weekend, West Ham get a home tilt with Brighton to jump-start their attack following the return of Marko Arnautovic. And, finally, Wolves have an opportunity to build on their shocking come-from-behind victory over Tottenham. Managers will still be craving those elusive clean sheets, which seem to evade them each week, narrowly in most instances.
Do not let that festive spirit fade away just yet. The upcoming three days give you one last chance to indulge in your favorite festive activities before they must all be boxed up and stored away until next year. But, before that time comes, take this opportunity to reheat those leftover holiday provisions, and put on that tacky sweater (or jumper, if you prefer) before normalcy stifles all the cheer from our day-to-day activities.
Tuesday, January 1st
- Everton v. Leicester, 7:30 AM EST
- Arsenal v. Fulham, 10:00 AM EST
- Cardiff v. Tottenham, 12:30 PM EST
Wednesday, January 2nd
- Bournemouth v. Watford, 2:45 PM EST
- Chelsea v. Southampton, 2:45 PM EST
- Huddersfield v. Burnley, 2:45 PM EST
- West Ham v. Brighton, 2:45 PM EST
- Wolves v. Crystal Palace, 2:45 PM EST
- Newcastle v. Manchester United, 3:00 PM EST
Thursday, January 3rd
- Manchester City v. Liverpool, 3:00 PM EST
So which matches will you be watching? Are you shopping to fill any gaps in your roster? And have you heard any early Transfer news? Please let us know in the chat below!