The Premier League gets underway in 2012 with two fixtures on Sunday afternoon. First up West Brom host Everton at 12.30pm, before Sunderland take on Manchester City at 3pm as Bet365 report money on the betting odds for a Sunderland upset.
All four clubs will be extremely keen to begin 2012 with a win as they look to move closer towards their ambitions for the season.
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Looking at West Brom and Everton’s clash to begin with, it seems fair to say that their expectations for the campaign are fairly similar right now.
They are both in the top ten at the moment – 9th placed West Brom are a point and a place ahead of Everton as things stand – and this is an important game for the shape the league table will take going into January.
Both teams have had a decent Christmas period too so will be in good spirits going into this one. West Brom even managed to stop league leaders Manchester City scoring last time out.
Looking at the team news for this one, West Brom are waiting on the fitness of Youssouf Mulumbu, while Everton will be without Marouane Fellaini.
The second game of New Year’s Day is a cracking prospect too with a rejuvenated Sunderland side taking on current league leaders Manchester City.
Life is look much better for the Black Cats under new manager Martin O’Neill, while City are under huge pressure from local rivals Manchester United to get the points in this one.
As for the team news, Sunderland have injury doubts over Kieran Richardson, Phil Bardsley and Titus Bramble so they could be slightly short in defence.
Manchester City on the other hand have no fresh injury concerns with Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov both set to return to the squad.
They will therefore be confident about having enough to get the win and go into the rest of January on top of the Premier League.
Overall, the two games on New Year’s Day are very different affairs, but both should be entertaining and make for a cracking afternoon of football.