Who will be leading the Premier League at Christmas?

Very rarely does a club lead the Premier League table at Christmas and not go on to claim the title.

As such, it is seen as a fundamental step towards success, and it is little surprise that predicting who will be at the top of the Premier League Christmas tree on 25th December is among the most popular wagers offered by the best sports betting apps.

This season is proving difficult for the betting companies to price up. With just seven rounds of fixtures between now and the big day, now is the time to place your bets and get some good odds. Let’s take a look at the contenders.

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s side have been outstanding so far this season. Not only have the executed excellent possession football, they have also mastered the art of picking direct, incisive passes that open opponents up.

Of course they are the bookies’ favourites, just as they have been all season. But not by anything like the margin that some might have expected. Assuming the Blues go with the form and overcome Tottenham on Monday night, they will retake their place at the top of the table, joint on points with Liverpool. They have some challenges ahead, however, with fixtures against United, Chelsea and a resurgent Everton between now and Christmas. The bookmakers are right to keep them as favourites, but there are plenty of potential banana skins over the coming weeks, so it is far from a foregone conclusion.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s men have delivered on all their pre-season promise so far, and matched Manchester City almost blow for blow, although Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Arsenal leaves them two points short of the leaders.

The Reds have dished out hammerings against West Ham and Cardiff so far this season but, unlike the 2013-14 side that competed for the title purely through attacking play, the defence has been arguably Liverpool’s biggest asset this year.

Virgil Van Dijk looks increasingly like the best centre-back the Reds have had since at least the days of Sami Hyypia and possibly even Alan Hansen, such is the extent of his athleticism, composure in possession and leadership qualities. Next to him, exciting prospect Joe Gomez has developed very quickly, either at centre-back or at right-back.

They have to face cross-town rivals Everton during February, as well as north-west foes Manchester United.

Chelsea

The ultimate stalking horse, Chelsea is the third and final team in the Premier League that is still undefeated, with eight wins and three draws.

If they were having this return under Maurizio Sarri in 2015-16, for example, when the standard was not as high, the Blues would be a shoe-in for top honours.

Instead, the intense competition this year makes life tough. Eden Hazard is back to his best and the high-tempo football represents a big improvement on the previous campaign, but the 8th December clash with Manchester City will define whether they are good enough for a third title in five years.

Arsenal

Early losses against Manchester City and Chelsea hinted at a year of post-Wenger transition for Arsenal, but Unai Emery’s side have since rallied hard.

They enjoyed a 11-game string of wins across all competitions as the kind of fluid, one-touch football rarely seen during the latter stages of the previous regime has re-enthused supporters, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette bagging 12 Premier League goals between them

The winning streak came to an end with a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace prior to a 1-1 tie with Liverpool. The failure to win those games has pushed them six points shy of the summit, but the feel-good factor is back in North London and for those who like to take a chance, they could be the most compelling shot of all for Yuletide cheer.