To English soccer fans, a significant emphasis is traditionally placed upon the team that manages to top the EPL table on Christmas Day. As with the team that sits rock bottom of the EPL come the festive season, the league positions at this time of year are used as the basis for many soccer betting tips and can offer a fairly accurate representation of how things will look come May.
But regardless of previous trends and stats, the psychological advantages of being out in front in the middle of a festive schedule that is one of the most hectic in world sport cannot be underestimated.
With Manchester City cruising their way to one of their easiest wins of the season last night at the Etihad Stadium, Stoke City slipping to a 3-0 defeat that was in fact far more humiliating than the scoreline suggests, their fans have been left celebrating their team’s position at the top of the table, the first time the northern side have achieved such a feat in a whopping 82 years.
Despite their win, City will have been watching on as their close rivals Manchester United thrashed Fulham away from home. With Fulham a club United traditionally don’t do well at, their 5-0 drubbing sends out a signal of intent to Roberto Mancini’s men that the second half of the season may not be as straightforward as they hope.
Should Roberto Mancini continue to prove himself to be a man capable of keeping the likes of the dissatisfied Wayne Bridge and Carlos Tevez quiet and not able to affect the atmosphere in the dressing room, those who bet on soccer games will back City to remain on the right road to push for EPL glory.
If, however, the minority of dissenting voices in the City squad starts to become a majority, with squad rotation unavoidable come January and February, you can bet your bottom dollar that Sir Alex Ferguson will be waiting with his sleeves rolled up and his mind games ready and prepared to further unsteady the ground beneath City’s feet.