Five games to watch over the New Year’s weekend: Who will triumph in Chelsea v Man City?
We take a look at some of the biggest matches this weekend
While some teams will want to continue their momentum into the New Year, others will see 2021 as a clean slate and an opportunity to kickstart their season.
Manchester City are very much in the latter category and Pep Guardiola will be keen to propel his side back into title contention as they take on Chelsea.
Meanwhile up in Scotland, table-toppers Rangers meet fierce rivals Celtic for the second Old Firm clash of the season.
We’re set for a cracking few days of football across the continent and we’ve previewed our pick of the action.
Manchester United v Aston Villa (Friday, 20:00)
Whisper it quietly but Friday night’s fixture sees two top-four contenders meet at Old Trafford.
United find themselves second in the Premier League table after Marcus Rashford’s winner deep into stoppage time broke Wolves hearts on Tuesday and they’ll temporarily go level on points with league leaders Liverpool with a win on Friday.
Meanwhile, Villa followed up their impressive Boxing Day win over Crystal Palace with a hard-fought draw away at Chelsea and they find themselves fifth in the table, just four points behind United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced his fair share of critics this season but his side will harbour genuine title ambitions, while Villa’s free-flowing attack, led by the ever-influential Jack Grealish, is more than a match for any Premier League defence.
Whether Emiliano Martinez can continue his imperious form in between the sticks against the likes of Rashford and Bruno Fernandes remains to be seen, but it won’t be one-way traffic here and whoever Solskjaer selects at the back will likely have a difficult New Year’s Day.
Manchester United can be backed at 3/4 while the draw is 3/1. Aston Villa are priced at 7/2.
Rangers v Celtic (Saturday, 12:30)
Even the most ardent of Rangers fan wouldn’t have expected to be starting January 16 points clear of fierce rivals Celtic.
Yet Steven Gerrard’s side have been near-unstoppable this season and they can stretch their lead over the Bhoys even further at Ibrox on Saturday.
Neil Lennon’s team have three games in hand, but should they win those they’ll still have plenty of making up to do heading into the second half of the season.
Rangers are targeting their second win over their neighbours this term, which would propel them one step closer to securing their first league title since 2011.
Rangers are priced at 11/10. Celtic can be backed at 5/2 while the draw is going at 12/5.
Tottenham v Leeds (Saturday, 12:30)
Having endured a run of four Premier League games without a win, Tottenham could be forgiven for being worried about facing the high-energy, relentless attack of Leeds.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side are full of confidence having spectacularly won 5-0 at West Brom earlier this week.
Spurs’ preparation for the game has been disrupted following the late postponement of their midweek clash with Fulham, but the extra rest may do them good as they look to rediscover their form.
And having started the season so strongly by punishing opponents on the counter attack, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min could find joy on the break against an adventurous Leeds defence.
Tottenham have been priced at 5/6 by our traders, while Leeds are going at 3/1. The draw can also be backed at 3/1.
Borussia Dortmund v Wolfsburg (Sunday, 14:30)
Just two points separate these two sides going into Sunday’s clash and both will be desperate for the win as they look to avoid slipping away in the race for the title.
Dortmund suffered defeat at the hands of Union Berlin in their last Bundesliga outing but they’ll be boosted by the news that Erling Braut Haaland is set to return from injury.
The Norwegian striker has been sidelined with a hamstring issue for a month and he’ll inevitably be a handful for a Wolfsburg side that has lost just once in all competitions since the start of October.
Borussia Dortmund are priced at 4/7 while the draw is 16/5. Wolfsburg are going at 9/2.
Chelsea v Manchester City (Sunday, 16:30)
Only goal difference separates these two sides going into their clash at Stamford Bridge and both will be disappointed to find themselves outside of the top four at this stage of the season.
Chelsea have won just one of their last five Premier League outings while City have also flattered to deceive, having recently been held to a draw at home to West Brom.
With Liverpool flying high at the top of the table, both sides need to hit the ground running in the New Year to have any hope of competing for the Premier League title.
An outbreak of COVID-19 cases in City’s squad postponed their match against Everton earlier this week but at the time of publishing, this game is still scheduled to take place.
Chelsea are priced at 21/10 while Manchester City can be backed at 5/4. The draw is going at 13/5.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication