(estimated 4 minute read time)
Hark! The herald angels sing; Premier League action returns on Boxing Day for what is the beginning of a venerable festive feast of football! The three lions may have roared out to Qatar and returned home with a miaow but now the real action of domestic club football resumes.
The Carabao League Cup returns in January, as does the iconic FA Cup with the fabled third round and the entry of the Premier League big boys into the mix. Think frozen pitches, heavy cold breath illuminated by floodlight and the potential for a minnow team like Kidderminster, Yeovil or Chesterfield writing their names into FA Cup folklore as a famous “giant-killer”. This is proper football, this is “let’s ‘ave it” football and we can’t wait for it to be back!
Not long to wait either until the razzmatazz of the UEFA Champions League as Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur resume their respective campaigns in February. So, with all this football to look forward to, there’s no time to feel glum about England’s World Cup exit to the French. Get ready, it’s set to be a barnstorming second half of the season in England.
THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Arsenal, top of the table at Christmas and hoping to fend off a Man City side complete with a fully rejuvenated Erling Haaland who did not feature at the World Cup, will want to continue their excellent form before the break.
Snapping at their heels are the likes of Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle and with an upcoming January transfer window that could shape the destination of the title, the climax of the Premier League is set to go right down to the wire at the end of May.
Can The Gunners fend off Man City? How will Man Utd fare without the influence of Cristiano Ronaldo and can Liverpool continue their rise up the table after an indifferent first half of the season? All will be revealed when the action returns on Boxing Day.
THE FA CUP
The oldest club football competition in the world returns on the first full weekend in January with a packed list of fixtures. The romance of the FA Cup will be alive and well as teams from the lower leagues look to upset their exalted Premier League counterparts.
Oxford United will take on Arsenal, Aston Villa take on Stevenage and recent champions Leicester City will face Gillingham in three stand out ‘David v Goliath’ match ups – will we see some new year magic?
With Premier League teams often resting key players, FA Cup shocks are reasonably frequent occurrences, and we can’t wait to see how the action unfolds in the New Year.
THE CARABAO CUP
The English League Cup is already at the round of 16 stage and with knockout games taking place just before Christmas and the quarterfinals taking place in the second week of January, it’s approaching crunch time in the Carabao Cup this season.
The likes of Manchester United, Newcastle United and Leicester City are all still in the fray but lower league opposition in the form of MK Dons, Gillingham and Lincoln will all be hoping for a bank balance boosting victory.
Manchester City also take on Liverpool in what is the marquee tie of the round of 16 and with the final scheduled for the end of February at Wembley, we’re already close to seeing who will pick up the first piece of silverware this season.
THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
With all four English clubs still dining at the top of the European table, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur will all fancy their chances of European glory this season.
Whilst Liverpool and Tottenham face stern opposition from reigning champions Real Madrid and AC Milan respectively, Chelsea and Manchester City face perceived easier ties against Dortmund and RB Leipzig.
Can Manchester City finally take home the European Cup or will one of the European powerhouses like Bayern Munich, PSG or Real Madrid get their hands on the trophy? The action resumes in the middle of February and with all the World Cup stars scheduled to feature, the UEFA Champions League is still the pinnacle of world club football.