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WGM’s weekend preview

Written by Ben Blaschke

It’s a huge week in the badminton world with the start of the 2014 All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham. The most prestigious badminton tournament in the world outside of the Olympics, the world’s best players have converged on central England with China looking to continue its dominance of the event.

Chen Long will be looking to defend his All England Badminton Championships crown

Chen Long will be looking to defend his All England Badminton Championships crown

Last year it was Chen Long winning the men’s title and he will start among the favorites to go back to back although he will face tough opposition from 2011 champion and current world number one Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia. In the women’s, world number one Li Xuerui and number two Wang Yihan will be looking to return the title to Chinese soil after they were upstaged by Denmark’s Tina Baun in 2013. We’re pretty confident that China will be winning some trophies!

It’s a shortened round of Premier League action this week with Tottenham’s trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea the pick of the bunch. But that’s not to say there isn’t plenty of football to get excited about with two huge FA Cup clashes also scheduled this weekend. The first sees Everton travel to Arsenal in a mouth-watering clash with the winner booking their spot in the semi-finals. We’re actually going to avoid this game when it comes to betting – mainly because Arsenal’s form has been so unpredictable of late. This is a huge danger game for them.

Sunday night sees the replay of last year’s final as Wigan make the daunting trip to Manchester City. Wigan stunned not only City but the entire football world to win last year’s final and they have done incredibly well to make it this far in their title defence, but City are a different side in 2014 and it’s hard to see anything but a big win for the home side.

In Australia, the NRL season kicks off on Thursday night with defending premiers Sydney Roosters taking on arch-rivals South Sydney in a blockbuster. Ben Barba faces his former club Canterbury for the first time since moving to Brisbane in the off-season while Melbourne and Manly clash at Brookvale Oval. What a way to start the year! For the record, our tips are: Roosters, Bulldogs, Panthers, Sea Eagles, Cowboys, Tigers, Warriors and Sharks.

And after a quiet few months since the Australian Open, the tennis is heating up again with the first of the year’s nine Masters events in Indian Wells. All of the world’s elite have made their way to the US for this one with Rafael Nadal looking to defend his crown and join Roger Federer with four wins at this event. He will be hard to beat but for a bit of extra value we like the look of last year’s finalist Juan Martin del Potro.

Good luck and good punting.