Ighalo leads Watford against Palace after Xmas blues


Super Eagles’ forward, Odion Ighalo, is expected to lead Watford out at Vicarage Road against Crystal Palace, a day after Christmas celebration, in an English Premier League tie.

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The Nigerian striker, who is expected to spend the entire Christmas Day to strategise for the Boxing Day duel, is in top shape with his squad to get the maximum three points at stake. Arsenal, who lost to Manchester City at the weekend, will try to redeem their image, when they host West Brom at the Emirates’ Stadium.

Same day, Burnley is expected to be at its best against Middlesbrough, as Ahmed Musa’s Leicester take on Everton at Turf Moor, while Swansea lock horns with West Ham United. Manchester United coach, Jose Mournho, is already having sleepless nights on how to take on aggressive relegation bound Victor Anichebe’s Sunderland.

Rave of the moment, star-studded Chelsea, will be at home for Bournemouth. The match may see another classy performance from Nigerian wonder striker, Victor Moses. Premier League ties before Christmas saw a flurry of cards delivered to presumably disappointed recipients, with seven players picking up suspensions that ruled them out of the Boxing Day fixtures.

It has long been claimed that players actively look for bans during the festive period to free them up to enjoy slightly more ‘jolly’ Christmas. Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Marko Arnautovic had already been ruled out of this year’s Christmas calendar games, thanks to some unfortunately timed red cards.

But the final game before the Boxing Day fixtures saw a host of players join them in suffering the inconvenience of having to sit out the Bank Holiday games.

Leicester’s robust centre-back, Robert Huth, had walked a tightrope for four games, narrowly avoiding that unwanted fifth booking. But the German was among seven Leicester players carded against Stoke on Saturday, freeing him up to pop over to Vardy’s house for a dram of festive Skittles Vodka.

West Ham’s Pedro Obiang picked up a bizarre yellow against Hull on Saturday, cleaning out Sam Clucas for apparently no reason, to earn himself a fifth booking of the campaign and the misery of a matchfree Christmas.