English Premier League: Happy Boxing Day!

Enjoy your Saturday off, English Premier League fans? It's Boxing Day, everybody. The English Premier League is back and it's going to make up for the lost time. Boxing Day is also a time when England takes center stage. With most other leagues on winter break, you won't have to save up energy for the rest of your footballing day.

Match day 19 features a slew of top-versus-top, bottom-versus-bottom matches. A total of three matches amongst the league's top eight. At the bottom of the league, we have four matches amongst the league's bottom nine. Sleep if you want to, but when you wake up, a lot of the league's questions could be answered. Is Sunderland a real contender for Europe? Is Bolton's dream over? Who are the real potential relegation candidates? Or, maybe you just want that extra piece of turkey ham.

Fulham versus West Ham United, Craven Cottage (London), Sunday, 12:00 GMT - Speaking of Avram Grant, word is he's been given another ultimatum. He needs to win Sunday at Craven Cottage or Tuesday against Everton, Else, he's out. In the interim the vultures are starting to circle around Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager having won only twice since moving to London. Combined, Fulham and West Ham have as many wins as 19th place Wolves.

Blackburn Rovers versus Stoke City, Ewood Park (Blackburn), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - Rovers had a disappointing opening to the post-Allardyce era, drawn at home by West Ham in one of the more unwatchable matches in recent memory. Steve Kean has since been given the job at Ewood, giving him the task of convincing the likes of Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelson that the club isn't running itself into the Championship. Given that disarray, you can't blame Tony Pulis if he takes the Potters to Lancashire expecting three.

Everton versus Birmingham City, Goodison Park (Liverpool), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - Everton got three from City on Monday, but it would be a mistake for them (or us) to think their troubles are behind them. The Citizens gifted Everton those points, something Brum won't do. While Birmingham City hasn't been ambitious enough to try for wins, they're more than capable of drawing an Everton team whose goal scoring problems still need a solution.

Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Wigan Athletic, Molineux Stadium (Wolverhampton), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - Honest to goodness six pointer, with both Wolves and Wigan having reason to think they're about to get their act together. Wolves are coming off a derby win over Brum while Wigan's drawn their last two. The winner gets momentum and a potential turning point to their season. The loser wakes up Monday with the visage of Avram Grant staring back.

Bolton Wanderers versus West Bromwich Albion, Reebok Stadium (Bolton), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - December's been a wake-up call for the Trotters, though the Baggies should help bring back memories of an unbeaten November. Losses at Manchester City and Sunderland have brought Owen Coyle's men down to Earth, but they're still markedly better than West Brom. Even better, Brom will play to Bolton's strengths, giving them the open game in which they'll thrive.

Blackpool versus Liverpool, Bloomfield Road (Blackburn), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - The Tangerines look for the double, should this match actually go off. No under soil heating at Bloomfield Road means a small blip in the weather would derail another match for the Seasiders. With their thin squad, a third postponement could mean major problems in 2011 for Ian Holloway's men. If the match isn't postponed, Blackpool could throw themselves to the edge of Europe.

Newcastle United versus Manchester City, St. James' Park (Newcastle), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - City was not ready to play when they kicked off Monday at Eastlands. Two goals in 19 minutes for Everton and City's chances to go top were gone. Now trekking up to Newcastle, City is in danger of their season's first losing streak. The Magpies have their suspended players back, are coming off and affirming win in Alan Pardew's debut, and with Andy Carroll, the Toon has a route over City's midfield, offsetting the return of Nigel de Jong. Mario Balotelli looks to have overcome the knee injury that took him out of Monday's match, but unless both he and Carlos Tévez are much better, Newcastle will be good upset bets.

Manchester United versus Sunderland, Old Trafford (Manchester), Sunday, 15:00 GMT - Last year, Manchester United barely survived the visit from the Black Cats, needing a late Kieran Richardson red card and an Anton Ferdinand own goal to earn a 2-2 draw. United would get a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light in last season's second fixture, but coming off a 0-0 result earlier this season up north, the Red Devils have given Sunderland two results in the last three matches. United, however, have seemingly found their stride, sitting atop the table with a three match winning streak, and having entered the part of the season where Alex Ferguson usually turns a screw, United seem set to atone from their early season slip.

Aston Villa versus Tottenham Hotspur, Villa Park (Birmingham), Sunday, 17:30 GMT - Stopping Tottenham Hotspur starts with Gareth Bale, Harry Redknapp's all-world left-sided attacker. Who will Gareth Bale be going up against? Marc Albrighton, Luke Young and Carlos Cuellar. Aston Villa's home record (one loss in nine matches) hints at an ability to overcome such disadvantages, but without a win against a team sitting above Blackpool (10th), Villa might be short of Tottenham's league.

Arsenal versus Chelsea, Emirates Stadium (London), Monday, 20:00 GMT - Chelsea got a reprieve with Sunday's cancellation, not having to face Manchester United while the team was at their trough. Though Arsenal at the Emirates can't be overlooked, losing Monday can still be written off as points away from home that would have been a bonus to have anyway. In that way, a loss would be a tolerable wake-up call, a "what the hell is going on here" that doesn't carry the "how do we get those point back" feel. There is, of course, the upside: Beat Arsenal on the road and you can forget all your winter problems. Happy Boxing Day! The new year is here and a second straight title's still on the menu. In addition, you leave the Gunners to think about two matches, no points from United and Chelsea.

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