EPL: Crystal Palace kicks-off Boxing Day fixtures against Watford

EPL: Crystal Palace kicks-off Boxing Day fixtures against Watford


Sam Allardyce will take charge of Crystal Palace for the first time on Boxing Day as their Premier League meeting with Watford kicks off a busy day of action in England.

“I hope I can bring some joy, particularly over Christmas and New Year,” said the new Palace boss.

That match, the first of eight Premier League fixtures, starts at 12:30 GMT.

There is also a full EFL programme, but there are no top-flight fixtures in Scotland.

Former England manager Allardyce was appointed on 23 December – just one day after Alan Pardew was sacked as boss of the Eagles.

The Boxing Day matches mark the start of what is traditionally a very intense period of fixtures – and for some in the Premier League, this year is their first taste of the flurry of festive games.

“This is the first experience for me and my family, to work, to play football at this time of year,” said Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

“It can be, and I hope it will be, a fantastic experience.”

The Italian is still hopeful of enjoying something of a family Christmas, saying: “It’s not important where you stay, but it’s important to stay together with your family.”

With his team six points clear at the top of the Premier League, perhaps Conte can afford to indulge himself a little in the joys of the season.

But this is seemingly not the case for another foreign manager new to the league – one for whom the past few weeks have been far from joyous.

Manchester City trail Chelsea by seven points, and boss Pep Guardiola has decided Christmas will have to be cast to one side as his team attempt to make up ground on the leaders.

“We’re going to train on Saturday and on the 25th, then get a bus in the afternoon,” said the Spaniard, whose team visit Hull City on Boxing Day (17:15).

“We’re going to prepare like it’s not Christmas.”

Chelsea host Bournemouth at 15:00 GMT – the first of three fixtures in 10 days for Conte’s side.

Liverpool, another title-chasing side, do not play until 27 December – the start of three games in seven days. The situation is even worse for Southampton, who are not in action until 28 December but then have three matches in just six days.

Full fixtures

13:30  Watford vs Crystal Palace
16:00  Arsenal vs West Bromwich Albion
16:00  Burnley vs Middlesbrough
16:00  Chelsea vs AFC Bournemouth
16:00  Leicester City vs Everton
16:00  Man Utd vs Sunderland
16:00  Swansea City vs West Ham United
18:15  Hull City vs Manchester City