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High-flying West Ham host Arsenal and Man City battle Burnley

| 28.12.2014

In a sensational Sunday of scintillating fixtures there are subplots galore. Arsenal look to leapfrog surprise top four contenders West Ham United, Manchester City must beat Burnley to put pressure on league leaders Chelsea, and QPR welcome manager-less Crystal Palace.

West Ham United v Arsenal
Arsene Wenger’s men are 11/10 favourites with Coral to take all three points at Upton Park, having been on an upward curve of late.

The Gunners will be without suspended Olivier Giroud, but will hope superstar Alexis Sanchez, 5/1 to score first, can see them through this potentially tricky encounter.

Arsenal have won all four of their previous visits to the Hammers’ home and enter this battle on the back of a hard-won victory against QPR.

Hosts West Ham have, however, been one of the surprise packages of the season so far. They may have been downed by table toppers Chelsea last time out, but did not make life easy for the Stamford Bridge side.

Sam Allardyce’s team are 12/5 to take Arsenal’s scalp, with well-rested former Gunner Alex Song (12/1 to net against his old club anytime) and formidable frontman Diafra Sakho (7/4) expected to be back in the starting XI.

With battering ram Andy Carroll, 6/1 to fire home first, and speedster Enner Valencia also in Allardyce’s armoury, the Hammers could certainly punish their visitors far from solid defence.

Manchester City v Burnley
The Citizens are now on a nine-game unbeaten streak across all competitions, scoring six in their last two games as they continue to sweep away all before them.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men are understandably odds-on favourites at 2/11 to triumph over relegation-threatened Burnley at the Emirates, who they smashed 6-1 in their last encounter back in 2010.

The Clarets’, 6/1 for a draw, best hope is to stifle striker-less City. However, despite leading marksman Aguero’s continued absence, the Sky Blues have been in prolific form.

Midfielders David Silva and Yaya Toure have continued to step up, after grabbing five of their side’s last six goals between them, and are 5/1 and 4/1 to open and close the scoring respectively.

QPR V Crystal Palace
Harry Redknapp’s Hoops, 5/4 favourites to win, will be aiming to take advantage of the confusion surrounding Crystal Palace in the build-up to this vital clash between relegation candidates.

QPR did the double over Palace the last time these two teams met, and their fine home form, including three Loftus Road victories on the bounce, should be too much for the visitors.

The Hoops’ goal hero Charlie Austin is storming the top scorer charts, with 12 in the league already this term, and is available at 9/2 to draw first blood.

Palace, meanwhile, are adrift after the sacking of boss Neil Warnock. The Eagles have performed woefully recently, winning just one of their past 12 outings, and will be hoping the players respond with panache at Loftus Road.

Skipper Mile Jedinak has been an unlikely source of goals this term, and is 11/2 in the anytime market to come to his club’s rescue yet again.



Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.