So soon after the Boxing Day round of fixtures, the Premier League is back at it once again with its final assortment of games to conclude 2020.
A year like no other, this season could also be a unique one with just seven points separating 1st down to 9th, with the race for the title, Champions League and Europa League places its most competitive in a long time.
Premier League Game of the Round: Everton vs Manchester City
Everton – 2nd in the league – host Manchester City – 6th in the league – in this topsy-turvy season, pitting two of football’s finest managers against one another in Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola.
The Toffees have recovered well following a slump of one win in seven (D2 L4) to win each of their last four league games, conceding just once in that time.
That defensive stability has been key to their upturn, with Ben Godfrey standing out for filling in at left-back in the absence of Lucas Digne despite being more recognisable as a centre-back. With Richarlison and Allan both out, while James Rodriguez a doubt, they will need to stand strong against some of the division’s best players.
If Everton’s shoring up at the back has been impressive, then Manchester City’s has been superb, and somewhat unnoticed. They have conceded the fewest goals in the league (13), while only Emiliano Martinez (8) has more clean sheets than Ederson (7).
City themselves have conceded just once in their last six league games (W4 D2), with John Stones deserving particular acclaim for his performances at the back – in fact the only game they conceded in the aforementioned run came against West Bromwich Albion, a game Stones was absent for.
Rest of the Round
The action begins from Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace host Leicester City, while Aston Villa travel to Chelsea.
Tuesday’s selection begins with Brighton & Hove Albion facing an Arsenal side buoyed from their recent win over Chelsea, while Burnley host Sheffield United and Southampton welcome West Ham United to St. Mary’s.
West Bromwich Albion – fresh from holding defending champions Liverpool to a point last time out – face Leeds United, while Manchester United host Wolverhampton Wanderers.
There are two games on Wednesday, beginning with a London derby as Tottenham Hotspur host Fulham, before 2020 is rounded off with Newcastle United facing Liverpool.
Premier League Player to Watch: Anwar El Ghazi – Aston Villa – £0.54
After receiving criticism from his own fans in recent months, Anwar El Ghazi has come out the other side a much better player if his past few performances are to go by.
His four league goals this season have all come in his last four games, helping Aston Villa to 10 points in their last 12 games, in what has been a terrific season for the Midlands side so far.
Away to Chelsea, they have the chance to secure another scalp and cause the Blues problems on the counter-attack, with El Ghazi a key player for the Villains in that respect.