Five games to watch this weekend: Man Utd face Leeds while Celtic target Scottish Cup win
Liverpool, Tottenham and Bayern Munich also feature
While it may be another week until we open our presents and tuck into our festive dinner, this weekend’s football fixtures make it seem like Christmas has come early.
After leaving it late to sink title rivals Tottenham on Wednesday, Liverpool face a testing trip to South London to take on Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Manchester United face old rivals Leeds in the Premier League for the first time in more than 16 years.
Ahead of a thrilling weekend of action, we’ve taken a closer look at five games to keep an eye on.
Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Saturday (12:30)
Liverpool are three points clear at the top of the Premier League after Roberto Firmino’s late header was the difference against Spurs and they’ll be looking to claim their seventh consecutive win over Palace.
After making no substitutions in midweek, Jurgen Klopp may be tempted to rotate his squad, potentially giving the likes of Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the opportunity to impress.
But despite their poor recent record against the Reds, Palace have history against tomorrow’s opponents and have beaten them four time since they were promoted in 2013.
Roy Hodgson’s side battled well to earn a point with 10 men against West Ham on Wednesday and after holding Tottenham to a draw last weekend, the Eagles will have confidence Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze can cause problems for the league leaders.
Crystal Palace can be backed at 11/2 while the draw is going at 17/5. Liverpool are odds-on to win at 8/15.
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich – Saturday (17:30)
You’d be forgiven for doing a double take when looking at the Bundesliga table and realising Bayern Munich aren’t on top. Hans Dieter-Flick’s side are targeting their ninth successive title this season but they find themselves playing catch up at present.
Despite losing talisman Kai Havertz to Chelsea in the summer, Bayer Leverkusen have started the campaign strongly and the table-toppers have scored 18 goals in their last five matches in all competitions.
Bayern have stuttered in recent weeks, drawing three of their last four Bundesliga outings and they’ll be wary of falling further behind tomorrow, with Leverkusen currently one point clear.
And if recent history is anything to go by, we should be in for a cracker as Bayern have won the last two meetings between the pair 4-2.
Bayer Leverkusen are priced at 27/10 with our traders. The draw is 3/1 while Bayern Munich are going at 20/23.
Tottenham v Leicester – Sunday (14:15)
Jose Mourinho’s side have barely had a chance to lick their wounds following late heartbreak at Anfield but they’ll need to refocus quickly as they face another potential title rival in Leicester.
Spurs remain second in the Premier League table, just a point ahead of the Foxes, and they’ll be hoping Harry Kane can continue his impressive record against Sunday’s opponents.
The England captain has scored 14 times in 10 Premier League games against Leicester, including four in a 6-1 win back in 2017.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will be keen to bounce back from a disappointing midweek defeat at home to Everton and Kane’s Golden Boot rival Jamie Vardy will be looking to add to the 10 goals he’s already scored this season.
Tottenham are priced at 21/20 to win. Leicester can be backed at 13/5 while the draw is also 13/5.
Celtic v Hearts – Sunday (14:15)
It’s not been an easy start to the season for Celtic and manager Neil Lennon is under pressure to keep his job.
The Glasgow giants find themselves 13 points behind fierce rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table and their European hopes have been dashed for another season after they finished rock-bottom of their Europa League group.
Yet Lennon can go a small way to redeeming himself by guiding Celtic to their fourth consecutive Scottish Cup win against Hearts at Hampden Park.
Hearts are flying in the Scottish Championship this season having suffered relegation last term and they’ll fancy their chances of piling further pressure on Lennon and ending Celtic’s run of 11 consecutive domestic cup wins.
Celtic are the odds-on favourites to win at 1/4, while Hearts are priced at 17/2. The draw is going at 17/4.
Manchester United v Leeds United – Sunday (16:30)
After spending 16 years in the wilderness, Leeds return to Old Trafford in the Premier League looking to burst their old rivals’ bubble.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been criticised this term but following last night’s 3-2 win at Sheffield United, they’ve now won five of their last six Premier League games.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were prolific at Bramall Lane and they’ll be looking to continue their goalscoring form against Marcelo Bielsa’s inconsistent Leeds.
But the Whites will be full of confidence following their stunning 5-2 win over Newcastle in midweek and they’ll be looking to relive their last trip to Old Trafford in 2010, when a Jermaine Beckford goal secured an unlikely triumph in the FA Cup.
Manchester United are the favourites at 7/10. Leeds can be backed at 18/5 while the draw is 16/5.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication