Predicting the football future is basically the job here at news.bwin.com/en/, so we’ve consulted the stars (fixture list) and can now tell you which sides will fair best in the early rounds of 2015 Premier League action.
Tottenham have a tough enough ask at home to Chelsea on New Year’s Day, although their recent record against their London brethren at White Hart Lane suggests it won’t be nearly as gloomy an afternoon as many believe (click here).
When the Lilywhites are done battling the league leaders, some top-flight respite should appear on the menu.
No doubt Mauricio Pochettino’s men are in for a busy time, with an FA Cup third-round fixture at Burnley and home and away Capital One Cup semi-final matches coming up against Sheffield United in January.
However, before the month is out they travel to Crystal Palace and West Brom, both of whom are in some disarray following managerial changes, and host a Sunderland side who have won one of their past nine fixtures.
With ten wins from their past 15 all told, expect Pochettino’s side to grab a decent fistful of points as they surge towards a top-six place at 10/11 odds.
Burnley are another team blessed with facing clubs in crises, with Palace and Newcastle, who look a million miles away from replacing Eagles absconder Alan Pardew, set to take on Sean Dyche’s side early in the year.
The gift of QPR at home has also been bequeathed on the Clarets, and while many will feel this represents the perfect opportunity for Harry Redknapp’s men to avoid defeat away for the first time since being promoted back to the promised land in May, there’s little basis for these notions.
Add in a trip to the Stadium of Light, where even Hull won 3-1 recently, and 8/5 odds about Burnley staying up this season start to look big.
A longer-term view must be taken when weighing up Stoke’s chances of making the top half for the second consecutive campaign at a juicy top price of 9/4 with bwin.com.
Mark Hughes’ men are faced with both Manchester clubs at home and Arsenal away between now and mid-February, but take in trips to Leicester, the chaotic Magpies, Aston Villa and West Brom over the next ten weeks.
All those games look winnable at this juncture, and QPR, Hull, a struggling Everton outfit and Palace are due up at the Britannia before the Potters early-April trip to Chelsea. By that stage, Stoke may well be flying high.