The Modern Gooner Holiday Preview!

Merry Christmas, Joyoeux Noel, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, and a Happy Hanuk... Chanook... Hannukah to you all. I don't know if that's right, but spell-check isn't correcting me. And if I missed a holiday to wish you well on, consider it implied. I'm not a fucking calendar, man.

I won't have too much to say this time out, so I'll focus on providing puns, funny videos and dick jokes as there's been little to discuss this week, there being no midweek games. And thank god for that... we really couldn't afford to lose anyone else, and we seem to pick up an injury every match these days. But, always looking on the bright side, at least we've not suffered like these poor bastards. Disturbing viewing. Just disturbing.

A full slate of Boxing Day (or if you're Irish, St. Stephen's Day) matches will be on tap on Saturday, but the mighty Arsenal don't play until Sunday. And just like last season, we're facing Villa on the Boxing Day weekend, although one would hope we could get a more positive result. It's still unclear whether Cesc Fabregas will be back healthy to captain the side, and if not it would be another huge blow to us. We had enough to dispatch Hull on Saturday without him, but this is no relegation-battling side we'll be facing Sunday. Villa are the in-form team of the moment, and are level on points with us, although we are ahead on goal difference and have the crucial match in hand. A win will keep us realistically in the title chase and create some breathing room between us and the Villains. A loss would be crushing, as every point is crucial at this point in the season, injuries or no injuries.

Speaking of which, Armand Traore is hopeful of a return on Sunday, which would be wonderful. He's shown to be a very capable fullback this season while Clichy and Gibbs have been hurt, and swings in better crosses than either of them, which would be loevly if our forwards were taller than 5'9". Anyway, despite Silvestre's fine form last weekend as an emergency replacement, here's hoping Armand will be in the side, and that he brings his brass knuckles.

As far as good news goes, Nasri will not receive any further disciplinary action for his vicious, dirty, terrible and injury-intending stamp on the foot of Hull's Richard Garcia. If you read my last post, I made it clear that Nasri's actions were stupid, but the carrying on by Garcia is simply disgraceful. Violence has no place in the game, but diving and feigning injury should be left to Serie A. Besides, Wayne Rooney said he's never done it, and he never told a lie or shagged a granny, did he?

As for Villa, Heskey looks doubtful to play, which would mean another start for John Carew. Frankly, as I consider Carew a better player than Heskey, I can't see this as good news for us. We'll have to hope that our defense can cope with Villa's multitude of attacking options. Better news is that Agbonlahor, Ashley "I jerk off on web cams" Young, and Stephen Warnock are each a yellow card from suspension, so here's hoping all three will be naughty. Not that it will help us, necessarily, but in subsequent matches it would be quite handy. Like Ashley Young.

Now, let's take a quick look at the rest of the holiday docket:

Birmingham v Chelsea
Birmingham have been on wonderful home form, while Chelsea have largely been battering oppositions when on the road. Something's got to give...
Prediction: Brum 1-1 Chelsea

Fulham v Tottenham
Both teams have picked up some good results of late, and since my Christmas wishes are all being spent on Arsenal wins and maybe a shiny new striker or goalkeeper in January, I can't waste them on Tottenham losing. But I can hope.
Prediction: Fulham 2-2 Tottenham

West Ham v Portsmouth
Yikes. I keep waiting for the Hammers to pick up a win that they look shoo-ins for, but each time they seem to shit it away. Maybe they should play big clubs every week. Pompey will be confident after knocking off Rafa's boys, but they're playing at Upton Park.
Prediction: Hammers 1-1 Pompey

Burnley v Bolton
Not exactly the match of the week, but could be entertaining. Burnley are quite good at home (as Arsenal learned to their dismay), while Bolton are shit, although not quite as shit as Hull, Blackburn or Wolves.
Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Bolton

Man City v Stoke City
Watch Man City begin to roll off wins. The "New Manager Bounce" ought to see them win their next 4 matches or so. Once can hope for different, but this week it's Stoke at home, which is pretty much a given three points. Mancini has promised a top-4 finish this season, but on the other hand, he does have a mullet...
Prediction: City 3-0 Stoke

Sunderland v Everton
Two up-and-down teams squaring off at The Stadium of Light. Being in the north of England, I find that nickname to be a bit of a misnomer. Maybe northerners have a strong sense of the ironic. Everton's fans will likely look to nick any electrical devices anyway, so the nickname may be fully facetious after this one.
Prediction: Sunderland 2-1 Everton

Wigan v Blackburn
Ugh. NEXT!
Prediction: Poop.

Liverpool v Wolves
Have the Scousers found an opponent they can handle? Possibly, if Mick McCarthy plays his second team. Then again, who knows if Liverpool could handle them?
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Wolves.

Hull City v Man Utd
United may have troubles at the back, but Hull are so bad they may not even get a shot off. And you know Fergie will be in ultra-sensitive-pissed-off-and-just-pissed mode after the red satans shit the bed last weekend.
Prediction: Hull 0-3 United

Not much more to be said today, so please just enjoy your holiday weekend, whatever you celebrate. Kurt will be at the Emirates on Sunday, so we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for him, and those of you that will make it to Nevada's please make your best effort to sing as loudly as you can to make up for those who won't be able to make it in. I intend to be there, and I hope you all do too. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from us at The Modern Gooner, and from Philippe Senderos. You stay classy, and warm, Gooner family.

- B, a Gooner.