- The Premier League’s five Boxing Days games have been predicted by Opta
- Man United are tipped to beat Aston Villa, while the title race looks relentless
- IAN LADYMAN: Arsenal are developing stickability, street smarts and a mean streak…it will bode well for them. Listen to It’s All Kicking Off
It’s the time of year when anyone struggles to predict the results amid the chaos of the Premier League’s festive fixture list – but Opta’s supercomputer has named who it believes will win Boxing Day’s matches.
And in surprising news for Man United fans, Erik ten Hag’s team – without a goal in four matches – are given a 44.1% chance of beating high-flying Aston Villa.
United have been in terrible form, while Villa are third in the table, and yet it is the visitors who are only rated as having a 27.5% chance of victory.
Elsewhere, it looks like business as usual for the top teams. Liverpool (59%) are expected to win their game away at Burnley while Arsenal (57.1%) and Man City (62.1%) are tipped to win their matches in the coming days against West Ham and Everton.
On Boxing Day itself, Newcastle (55.7% vs Nottingham Forest), Fulham (39.5% vs Bournemouth) and Luton Town (41.2% vs Sheffield United) are also named as expected winners.
Rasmus Hojlund and Manchester United could be headed for a much-needed victory
Aston Villa have been in great form and are third in the league but are predicted to lose
Opta’s AI-powered supercomputer predicts Premier League results by estimating the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta Power Rankings, based on historical and recent team performances.
On those power rankings, Villa are currently placed as the 11th-best team in Europe. United are 26th, stuck below West Ham who they lost 2-0 against on Saturday. Manchester City are No 1 with Arsenal the second-best English team in fifth.
United should be somewhat energised on Boxing Day after news broke on Christmas Eve that the club’s £245million investment by Sir Jim Ratcliffe was confirmed.
Ratcliffe’s INEOS group will take control of the sporting operation at Old Trafford once their involvement is given the green light by the Premier League at the start of the New Year.
Arsenal and Liverpool both look set to win their next matches, according to Opta’s model
Sir Jim Ratcliffe pictured outside Old Trafford – the petrochemicals billionaire has completed his £1.3billion purchase of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United from the Glazers
His £1.3billion deal to buy a 25 percent stake in the club contains a provision that could require the Glazers to offer their remaining shares to the petrochemicals magnate first, should they one day wish to relinquish their ownership of the club.
The Glazers have long been a figure of anger and resentment for United fans, with chants against them regularly aired at Old Trafford.