Nothing on the TV that you'd want to see
And it's hardly ever snowing
The way it's meant to be
Like in White Christmas year after year
Bing Crosby, Bing Crosby,
Are you listening to me?
It doesn't often snow at Christmas
the way it's meant to do
There were recent times when betting on a White Christmas was as much of a waste of cash as placing a wager on Manchester City to win a trophy but over the last 2 years the odds have reduced on one of them and the other is now a cast iron certainty. There will be another snow covered Christmas Day in the UK without a doubt. We will be able to make snowmen, snow angels, have snowball fights and excuse to not visit the in-laws (the roads are too bad, honest!! will be the refrain) but most importantly you get 4 helpings of Premier League football over that week that will go a long way to deciding where the league title ends up and who gets relegated. Assuming the positions and points margins today remain the same up until the 19th let us see how the league could be won and lost.
The festive period starts on the 19th with Chelsea and Manchester United stepping out at Stamford Bridge and if Chelsea do not improve their form between now and then they will be handing a 3 point lead to United going into Christmas. It is hard to say who has the hardest festive schedule but it seems evenly matched as Chelsea who take on Arsenal, Bolton, Villa and Wolves whereas United face an in-form Sunderland, Birmingham, Stoke and West Brom. Arsenal have trips to Wigan and Birmingham and entertain Man City and Chelsea so it will not be an easy Christmas for Arsene's men who could fall behind to City (Blackpool, Newcastle and Villa), Spurs (Villa, Newcastle, Fulham, Everton) and even Bolton (West Brom, Chelsea, Liverpool and Wigan). Villa take on 3 of the top 6 and their performances will have a huge bearing on the title but given the way the season is going I expect United to go into the new year top by about 1 point, Chelsea to be second, Spurs 3rd and City Fourth. Bolton and Arsenal fighting over 5th and 6th as I think Arsenal will end up drawing their 4 matches whereas Bolton will probably win 2 and scrape a draw in one of the others and I think Villa will beat City and Chelsea will draw 2 of theirs and I can see United getting 3 wins and a draw.
The bottom is where the fun really starts though as West Ham and Wolves are already looking doomed and the Hammers festive programme of Fulham, Everton, Wolves and Newcastle could well see them fatally adrift especially if they lose to Fulham who are already 5 points ahead of them and Wolves. Avram Grant is in his natural environment at the moment (bottom of the table and getting relegated) and unless things change in the next 3 games I think they are doomed. Carlton Cole was quoted as saying they had lost the game psychologically in the first 10 minutes at Anfield an attitude that will not endear him to Hammers fans at all as if you can't have any fighting spirit for even 10 minutes of a game you may as well give up and it appears that is what West Ham did last weekend.
All in all I think that it will still be tight at the top come the new year but I feel that unless they pick up 3-4 wins between now and the new year West Ham and Wolves will be as good as relegated before Christmas .
As for the assertion that it doesn't often snow at Christmas since the Pet Shop Boys released that single we've had lots of snow so it seems that post-modernist irony is alive and kicking again although White Christmas is the local theatre musical this year and as the film will be on BBC2 or Sky this year I don't think Bing Crosby will be listening when I tell him to get off my TV screen.