By Tim Stannard
1) Boxing Day business for EPL’s prime performers
It’s a grumbling, hardship, bah humbug Monday for some Premier League managers who seem to be aggrieved at the requirement by England’s football bosses for their delicate teams to actually play football on a day which is a holiday in the UK and a great chance to get out of the house. It does seem that training indefinitely without any matches at all would be preferable to some cranky coaches. Looking at you, Pep. Just sayin’.
Nevertheless, the will of the apparent slave-masters prevails and there are eight Premier League games popping up on Monday starting with Big Sam Allardyce making his debut for Crystal Palace at Watford. Arsenal’s clash against West Brom in the Emirates may look easy-peasy but could be challenging, Chelsea should have no problems at all in grabbing a now traditional 1-0 win against Bournemouth, despite Diego Costa being suspended.
Jose Mourinho takes on one of his Manchester United managing predecessors with Sunderland, led by David Moyes, coming to Old Trafford, whilst Manchester City have a banana-skin clash away at Hull City. Catch all the best action on the XTRA from 7PM ET / 4PM PT on beIN SPORTS.
2) Newcastle in Sheffield Wednesday sizzler at St. James’ Park
The English Championship seems to play every day of the year anyway, so a few post-Christmas matches is small fry for the world’s footballing work horses. And beIN SPORTS is very proud to bring a couple of zingers to the table. Live at 9:55AM ET / 6:55AM PT, two promotion contenders facing off with Jaap Staam’s Reading in third place hosting a struggling Norwich City, which has lost seven of its last nine games and can ill-afford another defeat.
From 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT, Championship league leaders, Newcastle United are joining the beIN SPORTS party with a clash in a 52,000 sell-out St. James’ Park against sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday. Once again, the XTRA is the place to catch the best of the action from 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
3) James set to stay in Madrid says Mendes
Le heavy sigh. It looks like the James transfer stories have been put to bed after no more than a week. The player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has told Spanish sports paper ‘AS’ that the Colombian will not be leaving the club in January, despite much grumbling from the Bernabeu bench-warmer last week that the footballer would be looking at his options.
4) Angel di Maria joins long list of China targets
But do not fear for the bank balance of super-agent, Jorge Mendes! The Portuguese wheeler-dealer could well be shipping Angel di Maria off to China with the footballer having a terrible time of it at PSG and Unai Emery wanting rid of the underperforming Argentinean.
5) Zaha urged to rethink Ivory Coast future
England manager, Gareth Southgate, has urged Crystal Palace midfielder, Wilfried Zaha, to backtrack on his decision to pledge his international future to the Ivory Coast. Zaha has featured in two England friendlies but was born in the Ivory Coast and looks set to take part in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, which is live and exclusive on beIN SPORTS.
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The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. SB is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.