Wednesday, September 19, 2018 09:48:31 PM
Chelsea's Antonio Conte and his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola are among the Premier League managers who will sample England's Boxing Day football extravaganza for the first time on Monday.
While the rest of the population gorged on Christmas turkey dinners and knocked back festive drinks, 16 teams were gearing up for matches as part of a custom that stretches back over 150 years.
With Chelsea six points clear at the summit and chasing a 12th consecutive win, which would set a new club record, Conte is approaching the visit of Bournemouth with a spring in his step.
"This is the first experience for me and my family, to work, to play football (at this time of year)," said the Italian.
"It can be, and I hope it will be, a fantastic experience. The atmosphere we find in this period is very difficult to find in another period. It's fantastic."
Chelsea have registered 11 consecutive wins within the same season for the first time after winning 1-0 at Crystal Palace last weekend.
Another victory will leave them one win from equalling Arsenal's 2002 record for successive wins in the same campaign, which they extended to 14 the following season.
But Conte will be without both top scorer Diego Costa and midfield lynchpin N'Golo Kante after they picked up suspension-incurring bookings at Palace.
Guardiola, too, is full of festive cheer following his side's 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal last weekend, which left City seven points below Chelsea in third place.
While the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach appreciates the novelty of Christmas football, he is preparing for his side's match at bottom club Hull City by pretending it is a regular fixture.
"This is my first year here and people say that at Christmas you have to be focused, because at home you celebrate with dinner and lunch, and we have to be prepared," said Guardiola, whose side trained as usual on Sunday.
Arsenal slipped to fourth, nine points off the pace, after their loss at the Etihad Stadium, which followed hot on the heels of a 2-1 defeat at Everton.
- Mourinho 'loves it' -
Arsene Wenger's side welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day and centre-back Gabriel says his side cannot afford to be distracted by seasonal excitement.
"I think all players just want to be focused on the game, rather than celebrating," the Brazilian told the Arsenal website.
"If I do have some time, I'll organise a dinner with my friends to make the most of the short time off. Then, I have to be ready and focused again."
Jose Mourinho has long been an avowed admirer of England's Boxing Day traditions and with his Manchester United team chasing a fourth straight win, he is relishing the prospect of Sunderland's visit.
"I love it!" Mourinho told MUTV. "I know that the family miss something from us, but the family loves us.
"They know us, they know our nature, they know that we are happy playing football, giving all of the people that love football something really special in a period when almost no country has football for the fans."
Sunderland manager David Moyes will return to Old Trafford for the first time since he was sacked by United in April 2014.
Champions Leicester City will hope to give their supporters some Christmas cheer when they host Everton in a repeat of the fixture that preceded last season's title coronation.
Top of the table last Christmas, Claudio Ranieri's men are three points above the relegation zone after winning just once in eight games.
Two points back in 17th place, Palace begin life under new manager Sam Allardyce -- appointed as the successor to Alan Pardew -- with a trip to Watford.
"I've upset the missus again because we were supposed to be going to Dubai, so that tells you I'm right," said ex-England manager Allardyce after shelving his holiday plans to ride to the rescue at Palace.
"We should have been going for New Year but she's as always supported me in taking this job." Liverpool, second, host Stoke City on Tuesday, with fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur visiting Southampton the following day.
PAKISTAN government has decided to grant nationality to all Pakistan-born refugees of Bangladeshi and Afghan origins staying there for decades. Prime Minister Mr Imran Khan on Sunday made this announcement during his maiden visit to Karachi, saying the Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees who were born in Pakistan would get National ...
AFP, Barcelona :FIFA president Gianni Infantino has expressed concern about La Liga's proposal to stage a fixture between Girona and Barcelona in the United States.The two clubs have each approved a request submitted to the Spanish Football Federation for the match to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in ...
Actress Annie Sekhon who has worked in many television shows and Punjabi films is having the time of her life. Off late she's been enjoying the success of her latest Punjabi film, 'Punjab Singh' opposite Gurjind Maan. The hangover of this film hasn't even faded yet and she's taking a ...
Best Drama Series: Game of ThronesBest Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselBest Actor, Drama Series: Matthew Rhys, The AmericansBest Actress, Drama Series: Claire Foy, The CrownBest Supporting Actor, Drama Series: Peter Dinklage, Game of ThronesBest Supporting Actress, Drama Series: Thandie Newton, WestworldBest Writing, Drama Series: Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg, ...
Reuters, Washington :U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, a sharp drop from a limit of 45,000 it set for 2018."We proposed resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the ...
EDITORS' Council on Saturday expressed its surprise, dissatisfaction, and shock at the final report of a parliamentary standing committee on the draft Digital Security Act which totally ignored the concerns expressed by journalists. Following disapproval from journalists, rights campaigners and foreign diplomats in Dhaka, the Law Minister earlier had admitted ...
AFP, Tokyo :Naomi Osaka has put her US Open tears down to shredded nerves and her natural awkwardness, rather than the tantrum thrown by Serena Williams that overshadowed a historic Japanese win.The 20-year-old melted hearts when she burst into sobs as boos rang out following her emphatic 6-2, 6-4 thrashing ...
AFP :Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States on Monday, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage.Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South ...
Al Jazeera News :Karachi, Pakistan - Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged to implement existing Pakistani laws that would grant citizenship to all Afghan and Bangladeshi refugees who were born on Pakistani soil, a major departure from previous policy.Pakistan is home to more than 1.39 million registered Afghan refugees, according ...
AndhaDhun director, Sriram Raghavan holds Radhika’s opinion in high regard when it comes to working on a project. Radhika being an omnipresent character in the entertainment world, the filmmaker feels that seeking advice from the actress always works in favor of him. According to sources, Sriram Raghavan said, “Since Radhika ...
ACADEMICS and former student leaders have emphasised favourable environment and immediate announcement of schedule to hold the long-awaited election to Dhaka University Central Student Union (DUCSU). While Dhaka University authorities initiated a discussion with student organisations over the issue yesterday, the participants welcoming the DU's move pointed out that flexing ...