Middlesbrough vs Wigan
Prior to defeat to table topping Burnley, Boro’ have been in brilliant form as they look to get their play off push back on track after some indifferent form in the earlier months of the season.
They’ve lost just once in their last 6 league games, winning 4 & drawing 1.
They’re masters at stopping their opponents playing. Their xGA is just 0.89. They’re very very unfortunate to have conceded as many goals as they have.
Even in that 3-1 defeat to The Clarets, they had the better xG and they kept the table toppers to just 0.70 xG.
That’ll make worrying reading for Wigan, who have averaged just 0.87 xG on the road this season.
However, metrics are the least of their worries. The issues are plain to see.
The Latics have won just 2 of their last 13 league games. They’ve lost 9 of those.
Only Hull (40) have conceded more goals than Wigan (34) this season.
With how close this division is, a win could theoretically take Boro to within a point of the play-offs. This is a huge opportunity to climb the standings and I’d expect Michael Carrick’s men to grab that opportunity with both hands.
Scunthorpe vs Chesterfield
The woes continue for Scunny. Their behind the scenes problems, mass player exodus and relegation from the football league has the club veering towards the abyss.
It’s now 9 games without a win for The Iron, losing 7. Their last taste of victory came against Gateshead, who sit 2nd bottom of the table, 1 point ahead of Scunny.
They’ve conceded a whopping 47 goals in 23 games.
A terrifying match up against a side who’ve scored 43 times, only bettered by the two sides above them; Wrexham and Notts County.
Chesterfield come in to this having lost just 1 of their last 8 matches. Along with that, they’ve shown their quality in the FA Cup as they’ve dumped out two League 2 sides in Northampton and Wimbledon.
This is a squad filled with football league level players, especially in attack with the likes of Joe Quigley and Kabongo Tshimanga.
Arsenal vs West Ham
Arsenal have won 6/6 at the Emirates and top the league going in to the festive period.
Their home performances at home have been outrageous. They’ve scored 19 goals and have knocked off both Spurs & Liverpool already this season.
They’ve averaged a ridiculous 2.8 xG in front of their own fans, whilst restricting visitors to an xG of just 0.84.
Only Forest & Wolves (2) have taken fewer points on the road than West Ham. They’ve had a dreadful season so far and look devoid of ideas or creativity.
Arsenal do have the bump in the road of Gabriel Jesus’s injury to contend with, but even without him they’ve got far too much for this West Ham side. Man for man it’s not even close between these two.