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Boxing Day Football Tips: Three selections from Leicester, Man City and Sheffield United

David McGoldrick features in our Boxing Day football tips
David McGoldrick features in our Boxing Day football tips

On the hunt for a bit of Boxing Day value, I've trawled through the bookings and shots markets for the following fixtures; Leicester vs Man Utd, Man City vs Newcastle and Sheffield United vs Everton. I've found some selections I like at odds of; 4/1 and 10/1. 

The festive fixtures commence at the King Power as Leicester welcome Manchester United at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. The visitors are in fine fettle having won six of their last seven Premier League games. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be without Scott McTominay and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, both of which were absent for the Red Devils midweek victory in the Carabao Cup.

The Foxes have endured a cracking start to the season and head into this showdown second in the proceedings. Brendan Rodgers side will have their tails up having notched up their sixth domestic away victory of the season with an impressive 2-0 victory over Spurs in their last outing. Leicester will also be bolstered by the return of Timothy Castagne who is expected to start here.

My final selections comes via Sheffield as United welcome Everton to Bramall Lane. Chris Wilder's men followed a dismal display at Southampton with two spirited performances vs Man Utd and Brighton and were perhaps a little unlucky to come out of those fixtures with just a point. 

They welcome an Everton side that are reaping the rewards of a tactical switch. Carlo Ancelotti reverted to a flat back four of centre backs for Everton's game vs Chelsea in mid December and since then have won three tricky league games on the spin.

These sides languish at polar ends of the table but will both be equally desperate to finish the season with a plum in order to remain in touching distance of those ahead. The Blades prop the table up, ten points adrift of safety, whilst Everton are four points of the pace at the top of the tree.

Today's football tips
Leicester v Man Utd
Sat, 12:00
JimmyThePunt: Youri Tielemans to be booked
  • Referee Mike Dean is averaging 3.7 yellow cards a game this season and Tielemans has already amassed five cards so far this season.
Odds correct as of 2020-12-24 13:20 Odds subject to change.

I'm hoping Mike Dean will be a little late in handing out his Christmas cards this year. He's averaged 3.7Y and 0.3R this season which is the forth highest total in the EPL. This figure has being dragged up by a flurry of cards that has seen him brandish 16Y and two reds in his last three games and I hope he brings this no nonsense form into Boxing Day.

It's a bit of a Christmas Miracle that the biggest booking merchant the EPL has to other takes charge of the team with the most bookings, (Leicester, 30Y) a team that has also drawn the second most fouls (Leicester, 12.3 pG). So, which ever way you look at it, cards are in the ascendency.

My pick comes courtesy of the Foxes midfield; Youri Tielemans at 4/1 with Bet365. The Belgium maestro has received plenty of plaudits for his game in possession but without the ball there is a lot to be desired for. With five cards to his name in all competitions this campaign he is averaging one every 0.20 games which makes his price perfectly apt in terms of probability.

His three league bookings have all come as a consequence of syndical fouls in transition, vs Villa, Man City and Arsenal, as Leicester lose the ball high and he gets caught the wrong side. So against a Man Utd side designed to counter-attack, posed with the pace and trickery of Martial, Rashford, Greenwood and Fernandas, you have to fear for him. Ndidi's return brings some stability back to the Foxes midfield but there is only so much covering the Nigerian can do.

I also want to doth my cap to a Axel Tuanzebe card. I did not want to push this as my main tip given the uncertainty surrounding who will start on the right side of Man Utd's defence but if it is the young Englishman then his booking price is huge!

Tuanzebe has only managed 23 minutes amongst the English elite this season but has had his name taken in every game he has started in the UCL and EFL Cup, that's three starts three cards! With four cards in total, he is averaging one every 73 and half minutes. It is also worth noting that if he does start he'll be covering the likes of Maddison, Justin and Barnes.

If both Tielemans and Tuanzebe start, I'll also be having a small play on the double at 33/1 with Bet365

Premier League betting
Man City v Newcastle
Sat, 20:00
JimmyThePunt: Kevin De Bruyne 2 shots on target from outside the area
  • Newcastle have conceded nearly 16 shots per game this season and with KDB on free kicks and loves a shot he looks value.
Odds correct as of 2020-12-24 13:25 Odds subject to change.

In stark contrast to the circumstances for the game in the Midlands, Man City's clash with Newcastle is destined to be a card-less affair. Martin Atkinson takes charge, he has the second lowest yellow cards per game average (2.09) in the EPL and in their last three trips to the Etihad Newcastle have only received one booking! Therefore, I'd urge anyone to avoid the card markets for this one, unless you are siding with unders, and instead delve into the props.

Personally, I like Betfair and Paddy Powers price of 4/1 for Kevin De Bruyne to have two shots on target from outside the box. In recent weeks, the responsibility to galvanise an underachieving City side has fallen heavily on the shoulders of the Belgian ace, and he has grasped it.  Averaging 3.83 shots per 90 minutes, he tops City's charts and 49% of those have come from outside the box.

This season, Newcastle have conceded an average of 15.9 SpG with the likes of Man Utd (27), Leeds (25) and Spurs (23) all smashing the 20 barrier. It is Steve Bruce's syndical approach that invites pressure and away from home against a more threatening side he sets his side up to be even more reclusive. Therefore, it is no surprise that 43% of the shots the Magpies have conceded, have come from outside the box and this is the second highest total in the league.

Last season, KDB had a total of seven shots vs Newcastle with this bet landing in one of the games. He will be on shooting free kicks, which bodes well for this bet, and the exact same bet is priced at a mere 11/8 with Sky Bet.  

Sheffield United v Everton
Sat, 20:00
JimmyThePunt: McGoldrick & Calvert-Lewin 2+ shots on target each
  • Three goals in his last four starts McGoldrick is averaging over two shots a game for the Blades.
  • DCL has a shots per game average of three this season.
Odds correct as of 2020-12-24 13:25 Odds subject to change.

David McGoldrick is very easy on the eye, on paper he is a striker you only have to watch him play to see he is so much more than that. Dropping into the half spaces, he is the crucial cog in the steel city's machine that turns possession into attack. Having shown glimpses of last season, he looks at home in the top flight this season and has notched up three goals in his last four starts. During those four games, he has an SpG average of 2.25 and found the target six times.

Everton's talisman is Sheffield born Dominic Calvert-Lewin. A product of the Blades academy, irony alone makes him a likely candidate to find the back of the net on Saturday, a feat Kyle Walker and Jamie Vardy have already achieved at Bramall Lane this season.

Statistically, DCL has the Toffee's highest SpG average (3) and has accounted for 60% of their goals on the road (six of ten!). He has also averaged 1.75 shots on target per 90 minutes played in the league this season!

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