The Premier League will do its best to help soccer fans past the post-Christmas blues with a full slate of matches on tap for Boxing Day on Dec. 26.
That includes an epic top-of-the-table match with Manchester City hosting Liverpool. The two top-three teams are easily the league's two highest scoring teams, having combined for 93 goals in the EPL this season.
In case that match doesn't get you excited, or you're just eager for more, take a look at the complete schedule of fixtures, and my predictions, for Matchday 18. After, I will add a little more insight to my predictions for the week's most anticipated matches.
|Hull vs. Man Utd||Dec. 26||12:45 GMT/7.45 ET||0-1|
|Aston Villa vs. Crystal Palace||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||2-1|
|Cardiff vs. Southampton||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||0-1|
|Chelsea vs. Swansea||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||2-1|
|Everton vs. Sunderland||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||2-0|
|Newcastle vs. Stoke||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||2-1|
|Norwich vs. Fulham||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||1-0|
|Tottenham vs. West Brom||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||1-1|
|West Ham vs. Arsenal||Dec. 26||15:00 GMT/10:00 ET||0-2|
|Man City vs. Liverpool||Dec. 26||17:30 GMT/12.30 ET||4-2|
Hull City 0, Manchester United 1
Manchester United will look for a badly needed win when they travel to East Yorkshire to take on Hull City.
History tells us that United will succeed. The Red Devils have won their last 10 matches on Boxing Day. This, however, has not been the typical season at Old Trafford. The defending league champs sit in eighth place and have won just eight of their 17 matches.
Still, even though they are on the road, a match with 12th-place Hull City is one the Red Devils should expect to win.
If they get solid play from their inconsistent back line, the Red Devils will pull out the win.
Hull City has netted just 14 goals this year. The Red Devils will have to be patient, but they will be able to control possession and earn a clean sheet against Hull City.
It won't be easy for the Red Devils to crack the scoreboard themselves, however. For starters, they aren't likely to have the goal-scoring services of Robin van Persie:
Also, in home matches, Hull have allowed just three goals all season.
Wayne Rooney and the Red Devils will still be able to add one score and emerge with three much-needed points.
Newcastle United 2, Stoke City 1
After cruising to an away 3-0 win over Crystal Palace in Matchday 17, sixth-place Newcastle return home to take on 10th-place Stoke.
Newcastle are 4-3-1 at home this season with 12 goals for and eight against. Since an Oct. 30 loss to Manchester City at home, Newcastle have gone 3-1-0 at St. James' Park.
That home pitch will be enough to fuel Newcastle to victory. Stoke have been fairly abysmal on the road this season. They are just 1-2-5 as the away team in league action this season. They have also given up 15 goals while netting just seven.
On top of that, Stoke haven't scored a goal in either of their last away league matches.
Newcastle will dominate this match by a bigger margin than my predicted 2-1 score suggests.
Manchester City 4, Liverpool 2
The elephant in the room of the Premier League this season is that Manchester City have the talent to run away with the league. Uneven performances on the road have kept this from happening, but the Citizens' potential is not lost on Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
BBC Sport passed along the following Rodgers' quote on this year's league title: "Manchester City's to lose."
Now Rodgers will be tasked with trying to hand the Citizens their first home defeat of the season.
Manchester City have won all eight of their league matches at Etihad this season. In those eight matches, they've scored 35 goals. Meanwhile, Liverpool have gone 3-3-2 on the road this league year. They have scored 17 goals away from home.
Scoring isn't going to be the problem for Liverpool in this match.
The Citizens have allowed just five goals at home this season, but the Reds have the firepower to crack their back line.
They won't, however, be able to keep up with the Citizens' scoring prowess, but they will be able to help provide a thrilling and fast-paced contest.