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Saturday's Premier League preview: New Year's Eve tests for top three

There are six Premier League fixtures to take in this New Year's Eve, with the top three all in action.

Wolves will put their perfect start under new head coach Julen Lopetegui on the line in the 12:30 kick-off, as they host a Manchester United side that have their eyes set on ending the year in the top four.

The pick of the 15:00 starts will see second-place Manchester City host struggling Everton, with the pressure mounting on Toffees boss Frank Lampard.

Third-place Newcastle will also have home advantage for their clash with Leeds, while the remaining 15:00 games will see Bournemouth host Crystal Palace and rock-bottom Southampton visit Fulham.

Leaders Arsenal will then contest the final top-flight fixture of the year at 17:30, as they face a tricky looking trip to The Amex to take on Brighton.

Lopetegui faces sternest test yet

What: Wolves v Manchester United
Where: Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton
When: 12:30, Saturday 31st December
How to watch: BT Sport 1 and Ultimate
Odds: Wolverhampton 3/1, Draw 13/5, Man Utd 10/11

It has been a dream start for former Spain and Real Madrid boss Lopetegui in the Wolves dugout, as he has won his opening two matches in charge against Gillingham in the EFL Cup and Everton in the league.

The 2-1 victory over the Toffees at Goodison Park on Boxing Day was not only sealed in dramatic fashion - Rayan Ait-Nouri scored the winner in the 95th minute - but it also lifted Wolves off the bottom of the table and to within a point of safety.

A third win in a row should see Wolves end the year outside the relegation zone, but that will be easier said than done against a Manchester United side that have also won both their matches since the World Cup break.

United have seemingly now found their feet under Erik ten Hag after winning seven of their last eight across all competitions, while a victory on Saturday would lift them above Tottenham into fourth place for 24 hours at least.

The Red Devils also boast a goalscorer in form, with Marcus Rashford having netted six in his last nine games for club and country. The England international is 3/1 to Score Anytime on Saturday, with United 10/11 in the Full Time Result market.

City to ramp up pressure on Everton

What: Manchester City v Everton
Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
When: 15:00, Saturday 31st December
Odds: Man City 1/8, Draw 15/2, Everton 20/1

Manchester City can, temporarily at least, close the gap on Arsenal at the top of the standings to two points if they get the better of Everton at the Etihad Stadium.

City will certainly expect to overcome the struggling Toffees, as they have won each of the last 10 meetings between the two sides by an aggregate score of 27-5.

Even more worrying for Everton, all of those victories for City came before the arrival of Erling Haaland, who took his Premier League tally for the season to 20 goals with his brace against Leeds during the week. The Norwegian is 6/4 to score two or more on Saturday in the Multi Scorers market.

Everton come into the game sitting just a point and a place above the relegation zone and their Boxing Day defeat to Wolves was their fourth loss on the spin across all competitions.

That has ramped up the pressure on manager Lampard, who does at least have one positive to draw upon ahead of the trip to Manchester, with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin expected to be available after recovering from his latest injury setback.

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Relentless Newcastle will take some stopping

What: Newcastle v Leeds
Where: St James' Park, Newcastle
When: 15:00, Saturday 31st December
Odds: Newcastle 9/20, Draw 7/2, Leeds 6/1

Newcastle are the form team in the Premier League, as their 3-0 win at Leicester on Boxing Day was their sixth success in a row in the top flight, while Eddie Howe's side have suffered just one defeat in 19 matches across all competitions this season.

The win over Leicester briefly lifted the Magpies up into second and they can further underline their potential title credentials by beating Leeds at St James' Park in their final match of 2022.

Leeds will head to Tyneside on the back of their midweek home defeat to Man City, with Jesse Marsch's side currently sitting just two points above the relegation zone.

If the Whites are to take anything from Saturday's contest then they will surely have to keep Miguel Almiron quiet, with Newcastle's No.24 12/5 to Score Anytime after netting eight in his last nine top-flight games.

Arsenal face bogey-team Brighton

What: Brighton v Arsenal
Where: The Amex, Falmer, Brighton
When: 17:30, Saturday 31st December
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League
Odds: Brighton 12/5, Draw 5/2, Arsenal 11/10

If Man City and Newcastle win their matches at 15:00 then that will heap the pressure on leaders Arsenal, who picked up exactly where they left off before the World Cup break with victory over West Ham on Boxing Day.

Confidence should certainly be high within the Arsenal camp, but they will be facing something of a bogey side when they visit The Amex, with Brighton having lost just two of the last 10 meetings between the two sides.

That run includes a 3-1 success for the Seagulls at the Emirates Stadium in the third round of this season's EFL Cup and a repeat of that result on Saturday can be backed at 28/1.

Arsenal's most recent victory at The Amex did come over the festive period in 2020 when they claimed a 1-0 win - Mikel Arteta would certainly take a similar result now, but whatever happens, the Gunners are guaranteed to end the year top of the pile.

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