The Christmas break is approaching which for many sports means things will be quietening down somewhat in the coming days, but thankfully there are still some out there who realize us loyal fans need something to keep us entertained while everyone else is busy celebrating the festive season.
Let’s start with the English Premier League, which rather than slowing down actually goes into overdrive this week. And of course there are a number of huge games on their way, beginning with Arsenal’s London derby with Chelsea at the Emirates on Christmas Eve. The Gunners sit two points clear of Chelsea at the top of the EPL ladder and have been brilliant at home this season but it will be interesting to see how they react following last week’s 6-3 thrashing away to Manchester City.
Two days later it is Liverpool’s turn to be put to the test as they head to the daunting surrounds of the City of Manchester Stadium before another tough road trip to Chelsea immediately after that. One thing is for certain – the coming week could make or break the seasons of a number of the big clubs.
There is plenty of Test cricket going on around the world at the moment but for those who love their action short and sharp, all eyes will turn to Australia for the start of the Twenty20 Big Bash League this weekend. The world’s best short form players will gather Down Under with the opening weekend featuring two huge derbies as the Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder face off, as do the Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades. Our money is on the Sixers and Renegades to get the job done.
The World Darts Championship is underway in London, which will please the millions around the world who have jumped on the bandwagon of this new cult sport. As always, the good money will be on Phil “The Power” Taylor to win his 17th world title, however there is value to be found with in-form youngster Michael van Gerwen and cult hero Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock.
Finally, some huge games in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers fighting it out for top spot in the NFC South. This clash has huge implications for the NFC as a whole with the winner likely to secure the No.2 seeding for the playoffs while the loser could drop all the way back to No.6. Look for the Saints to rebound from last week’s loss to the Rams with a strong performance at home. The other big game is the Colts away to the Chiefs, with both sides looking to improve their playoff positioning. The Chiefs can lock up the top seeding in the AFC with a strong finish to the regular season while the Colts are still in the running for a bye in the first week of the play-offs. Go for the Chiefs at home.
Good luck and good punting.