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Five things to look out for over Christmas: Racing and football to steal the headlines

After a six-week break, the Premier League returns over Christmas after the conclusion of the World Cup in Qatar.

Of course, there is still plenty of other domestic football to look forward to, while there are no fewer than 11 horse racing fixtures to come on Boxing Day. 

While this time of year is quiet for tennis, golf and boxing, the highlight of the darts calendar takes place this week as the World Darts Championship continues at Alexandra Palace. 

Saturday 24th December 

Football: Celtic hoping to maintain their lead at the top

What: Celtic v St Johnstone 
Where: Celtic Park, Glasgow 
When: 12:30, Saturday 24th December 
How to watch: Celtic TV 
Odds: Celtic 1/8, Draw 8/1, St Johnstone 20/1

Celtic will hope to maintain their nine-point cushion at the top of the Scottish Premiership table when they host St Johnstone on Saturday. 

The Hoops have won 10 games in a row since they lost their first match of the season to St Mirren, but they will need to be at their best to overcome St Johnstone, who are unbeaten in six themselves. 

The Saints have only failed to score in two of their last 10 on the road, and a home win and both teams to score is worth considering at 21/10.

Monday 26th December 

Football: Can Gunners survive without Jesus? 

What: Arsenal v West Ham 
Where: Emirates Stadium, London 
When: 20:00, Monday 26th December 
How to watch: Amazon Prime 
Odds: Arsenal 1/2, Draw 10/3, West Ham 11/2

Arsenal will resume their Premier League campaign with a five-point cushion over second-placed Manchester City, but they were dealt a blow during the mid-season break for the World Cup. 

Striker Gabriel Jesus will miss the next few months of action after picking up a knee injury while playing for Brazil. 

The 25-year-old played a major role in helping Arsenal reach the summit of the Premier League, and West Ham will fancy their chances of unsettling them at the Emirates on Monday. 

West Ham are 6/4 to win in the double chance market, while Gunners striker Eddie Nketiah is 8/5 to score anytime as he prepares to fill the void left by Jesus.

Related Football News

Premier League Resumption: Leaders Arsenal return with London derby

Scottish Premiership weekend preview: Old Firm duo hoping for festive cheer

Horse Racing: 11 meetings to come on Boxing Day 

Boxing Day remains one of the highlights of the racing calendar, and fans can look forward to 11 meetings between 11:40 and 17:20 on Monday. 

In Ireland, Down Royal, Limerick and Leopardstown will host 21 jumps races, while there is one flat card to come from the UK as Wolverhampton hosts seven races from 13:50 until 17:20. 

Jumps racing is the theme of the day, though, and all eyes will be on Kempton for the King George VI Chase at 14:30. 

Bravemansgame is the 15/8 favourite for the feature race at Kempton, but he must fend off competition from L'Home Presse and Envoi Allen, who are 2/1 and 5/1 to win, respectively.  

As well as action from Kempton, Wetherby, Newcastle, Market Rasen, Fontwell, Huntingdon, and Wincanton will host further jumps cards.

Tuesday 27th December 

Darts: Big hitters on show at the Ally Pally 

What: World Darts Championship 
Where: Alexandra Palace, London 
When: 15th December 2022 – 3rd January 2023 
How to watch: Sky Sports 
Odds: Michael van Gerwen 9/4, Michael Smith 5/1, Gerwyn Price 13/2, Peter Wright 10/1, Josh Rock 12/1, Luke Humphries 14/1 

The third round of the World Darts Championship starts on Tuesday, and fans will get to see some of the world's best in action. 

While James Wade crashed out earlier this week, Nathan Aspinall, Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright and Kim Huybrechts are all still in the hat. 

Aspinall faces Josh Rock on Tuesday in the afternoon session, while at night, Wales' Price takes on Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld. 

Wright must navigate his way past Huybrechts in the final match of the evening, and he is 1/4 to do so, while his Belgian opponent can be backed at 3/1.

Wednesday 28th December 

Football: City hoping to build on EFL Cup success

What: Leeds United v Manchester City 
Where: Elland Road, Leeds 
When: 20:00, Wednesday 28th December 2022 
How to watch: Amazon Prime 
Odds: Leeds United 17/2, Draw 5/1, Manchester City 2/7 

Manchester City will look to build on their EFL Cup success over Liverpool when they travel to Elland Road to take on Leeds United on Wednesday. 

After losing 2-1 to Brentford before the mid-season break, City returned to winning ways with a gutsy 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Thursday. 

Pep Guardiola's side looked menacing in possession, and both Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were fit enough to start. 

If that is still the case next week, that should be bad news for Leeds, who have conceded 11 goals to City in their last two matches against the reigning champions. 

Haaland, who was born in Leeds, will want to showcase his skills at Elland road, and he is 2/1 to score two or more. 

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