A busy Boxing day programme serves up nine Premier League matches, with only the Gunners and West Ham missing the party. With seven three o’clock kick-offs and two evening matches, we’ve feast in front of us and a constant stream of Fantasy points right throughout the day. Our Dugout Discussion chatroom is now open to be your soundboard as you surf the wave of emotions approaching.
The team news from the three o’clock kick-offs is dominated by the news that it’s Wayne Rooney who makes way from the United lineup to face Newcastle, with Robin Van Persie, trusted with the armband by many, starting along with Javier Hernandez. Sky Sports have reported that Rooney, along with Ashley Young who is also absent today, picked up knocks in training.
Elsewhere, Roberto Mancini defies his statement that it’s “impossible” to start with the same strikers for two matches in the space of three days by starting with the same strikers for two matches in the space of three days (so bitter – ed) – it’s Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez up front at Sunderland, then. John O’Shea misses out for the home side, Ryan Nelsen is absent for QPR through illness, Bryan Ruiz is fit enough to return to the bench for Fulham, Grant Holt returns for Norwich, David Luiz looks to be in midfield again for Chelsea as Rafa Benitez rests Eden Hazard. It’s breathless stuff and there hasn’t been a ball kicked in anger yet.