This Premier League Preview sees three big matches on New Years Eve.

Leicester take on West Ham at the King Power Stadium in the first fixture.

Leicester vs West Ham – Saturday 31st December 2016 – 15:00

leicester-west-hamLeicester welcome West Ham to the King Power Stadium on New Years Eve, kicking off a full festive period of Premier League action.

Claudio Ranieri's side come into this match on the back of another poor result, this time a home defeat against Everton.

Kevin Mirallas opened the scoring for the Toffees (51), with Romelu Lukaku (90+1) taking his personal tally to 10 for the season.

Claudio Ranieri will be furious, with Mirallas punishing a Leicester mistake with the Blues first shot on target in the match.

Ranieri insisted he was not too concerned, despite seeing the Foxes slump to 16th in the Premier League.

"Worried? No, but I knew from the first month we were in a battle when we were up and down this year, and now we have to react very soon. We now have another match against West Ham, who won 4-1 today, and it is very important to get some points from that game."

Consistency Needed

Given Leicester's away form this season it is imperative that they capitalise on home form, that defeat very damaging.

The defeat has seen Leicester slip down to 16th, with the Foxes now on 17 points, just three points above the relegation zone.

Riyad Mahrez was also dropped for the match against Everton, with the PFA Player of the Year needing to produce more according to Ranieri.

Leicester Favourites

Leicester come into this match as the favourites, with their excellent home record this season informing those odds.

Ranieri's side have drawn their last two matches against the Hammers, they are unbeaten in four against the Iron though.

Danger Man: The danger man for Leicester is Islam Slimani, with the record signing scoring four goals this season and assisting a further two goals in the Premier League.

Jamie Vardy being suspended has changed that, also the form of Mahrez will be concerning Leicester fans.

Leicester are 1/1 with Islam Slimani at 5/1 to score first.

Leicester

Hammers Buoyant

Slaven Bilic's side come into this match on the back of another excellent result, with a thumping away win at Swansea on Boxing Day.

Former Swan Andre Ayew (13) opened the scoring for the Hammers, ensuring they took a lead going into the first half.

Winston Reid (50) grabbed the second goal, after poor Swansea defending allowed the Hammers man to win a header he had no right to get to.

Michail Antonio made it three in the 78th minute, with Andy Caroll completing a miserable afternoon for Swansea.

The Hammers did concede in the 89th minute, with a defensive lapse allowing Spaniard Fernando Llorente to grab a consolation.

Slaven Bilic was understandably delighted with that performance, hailing it the clubs best win this season.

"It was a really good performance, we were compact when we were needed to defend as a team, we were dangerous when we had opportunities. Maybe it was the best performance of the season. I am pleased with everyone in this team."

Hammers Solid

Slaven Bilic's side have drawn both against Manchester United and now at Liverpool, they have now finally won three fixtures for the first time this season.

West Ham will be looking to make it four successive wins, with another win potentially taking them back into the top ten.

Hammers Underdogs

West Ham will be looking to register their seventh win of the season, they will also be looking to continue their excellent run.

Slaven Bilic's men will be looking to continue their excellent overall record against Leicester, with 33, drawing 20 and losing 28 of their 81 meetings.

Danger Man: The danger man for West Ham is Michail Antonio, who has scored 8 Premier League goals this season.

Despite their struggles he has kept them in contention, Dimitri Payet has been subdued but has still assisted 6 goals.

West Ham are 13/5 with Andy Carroll is at 6/1 to open the scoring.

 

The second match sees Manchester United host Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.

Manchester United vs Middlesbrough – Saturday 31st December 2016 – 15:00

manchester-united-middlesbroughManchester United welcome Middlesbrough to Old Trafford on New Years Eve, continuing a full festive period of Premier League action.

They come into this match on the back of a 3-1 win against Sunderland, with Moyes return to Old Trafford the main headline.

Daley Blind (39) opened the scoring for the Red Devils, despite the Black Cats enjoying the better of the opening exchanges.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (82) doubled United's advantage late on, with substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan (86) scoring an incredible goal, albeit blatantly offside.

Fabio Borini (90+1) scored an emphatic goal of his own, with his looping volley leaving De Gea completely helpless to get Sunderland a consolation.

Following the win at Old Trafford, United manager Mourinho called the Mkhitaryan goal phenomenal and the Armenian admits it was the greatest goal of his career.

"That was the best goal I have scored. The first thing I did was look at the assistant and I saw it was not ruled offside so I started to celebrate. As the ball was behind me, the only thing I could do was a backheel so I did that and succeeded."

United Of Old

Recent results will have delighted both United and Mourinho, with United finally showing the cutting edge required to close out matches.

Ibrahimovic has scored 12 goals in the Premier League already this season, with Mkhitaryan also scoring in his last three successive matches.

Jose Mourinho's side will be looking for another response, in the process securing five wins and putting more pressure on their rivals.

United Favourites

Manchester United come into this tie as heavy favourites, with their pedigree and form this season informing those odds.

Jose Mourinho's side will be looking to continue their excellent recent form against Boro, they haven't lost in 11 matches against them.

Danger Man: The danger man for United is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Super Swede has scored 12 of United's 27 goals and has assisted two goals for the Reds as well.

The return to fitness and form for Mkhitaryan has been crucial for United as well, Rooney is also United's top assister with 5.

Manchester United are 1/4 with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at 11/4 to score first.

Manchester United

Boro In Mixed Form

Middlesbrough come into this match in mixed form, with another defeat in their big match against Burnley.

They have continued their inconsistent run of form, having lost against Liverpool, won against Swansea and now this defeat against Burnley.

Andre Gray (80), gave the hosts the lead late in the second half, with the forward scoring only his second goal of the season.

Aitor Karanka was left to rue a late momentary lapse from his side, with his charges running out of concentration.

"It was very frustrating because we've been working all week knowing they play in that style with long ball. We created the first chances and the second half we had set pieces and corners but one point would have been fair because I don't remember their chances."

More Wins Needed

That result means that this fixture against United takes on extra importance, with Karanka side hovering above the relegation zone.

It means that Aitor Karanka's side come into this match in 15th place, having registered 18 points from their opening 18 matches.

Aitor Karanka's side will be looking to create more chances, the Burnley match meaning they have failed to score again in 90 minutes.

Boro Underdogs

Middlesbrough come into this match as underdogs, they will need to produce their best performance of the season though.

Middlesbrough will be looking to better their overall record against United, they have won 27, drawn 22 and lost 50 of their 99 fixtures.

Danger Man: The danger man for Middlesbrough is Alvaro Negredo, who has scored 5 goals for Middlesbrough this season.

Middlesbrough will be looking to him for inspiration, with the Spaniard scoring over a quarter of their goals.

Middlesbrough are 11/1 with Alvaro Negredo at 10/1 to open the scoring.

 

The third and final fixture sees Southampton host West Brom at St.Mary's.

Southampton vs West Brom – Saturday 31st December 2016 – 15:00 

southampton-west-bromSouthampton welcome West Brom to St.Mary's on New Years Eve, continuing a great round of Premier League festive action.

Southampton come into this match on the back of a 4-1 defeat at home against Tottenham on Wednesday evening.

Virgil Van Dijk (2), got his side off to the perfect start, with the dutchman linked with several clubs in the top four.

Dele Alli (19), equalised for Spurs seventeen minutes later, with Harry Kane giving Spurs the lead in the 52nd minute.

Southampton then lost Nathan Redmond to a straight red card in the 57th minute, after brining Dele Alli down in the penalty box, with Kane hitting well over the bar.

Heung Min Son scored another goal late on for Spurs, with Dele Alli returning to complete a double in the 87th minute.

Claude Puel was understandably disappointed with the result, after losing against what he called an efficient Tottenham side.

"I think it's a big disappointment because we made a strong start and did well in the first 20 minutes, without opportunity for the opponent. It was a hard to see a come back in this game."

Southampton Need Consistency

The Saints have had a reasonably mixed bag throughout the season, that defeat ends their recent unbeaten run though.

They have now lost twice during the last six matches, with the 3-0 defeat to Palace and this defeat.

Claude Puel's side have had a mixed record this season, with 7 wins, 6 defeats and 5 draws in their 18 matches this season.

Southampton Favourites

Southampton come into this match as favourites, with home advantage informing those odds.

The Saints will be looking to continue their recent record against West Brom, they won the last match against the Baggies 3-0.

Danger Man: The danger man for Southampton is Jay Rodriguez. Both Charlie Austin and Nathan Redmond have enjoyed excellent seasons, they are both unable to play in this fixture.

Rodriguez has scored three goals so far, he has only had a limited number of appearances this season though.

Southampton are 7/10 with Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long at 4/1 to score first.

Southampton

Baggies Unlucky

Tony Pulis' side come into this match in mixed form, despite losing to Arsenal in their last fixture.

Olivier Giroud (86) scored a late goal for the Gunners, with the Frenchman breaking the resolute Baggies defence very late on.

Ben Foster was in inspired form, pulling off a string of saves throughout the match to deny the Gunners.

The West Brom goalkeeper said that the 1-0 defeat was tough to take, conceding the Giroud winner was a bitter pill to swallow.

"It's tough to take, they were the better team and had a lot more chances and possession than us. Saying that to lose any game in the last three or four minutes is always hard to take."

West Brom Looking Forward

West Brom have been in excellent recent form, they have had a poor run, facing United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last six matches.

The results against Chelsea and United won't have hampered them too much, with both sides challenging at the top end of the table.

They will be looking to score their first goal in two matches, they will also be looking to return to winning ways.

Baggies Underdogs

This will be another tough fixture for Tony Pulis's side, with the Saints looking to avoid two successive home defeats.

West Brom will be looking to improve their overall record against the Saints, with 14 wins, 18 draws and 15 defeats in 47 matches.

 

Danger Man: The danger man for the Baggies is Salomon Rondon who has scored seven goals this season. Nacer Chadli has also scored four goals for West Brom as well.

Matt Phillips has 5 assists for the Baggies and they will need be relying on him to continue his excellent form.

West Brom are 9/2 with Salomon Rondon at 15/2 to open the scoring.

 

Betting Tips

Tip 1 – Payet to score first @ 15/2 and Leicester to win 2-1 @ 15/2

Tip 2 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan to score first @ 4/1 and United to win 3-1 @ 11/1

Tip 3 – Long to score first @ 4/1 and a 1-1 draw @ 11/2

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