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WGM’s weekend preview

Written by Ben Blaschke

While many sports around the world slow down at this time of year, it’s busier than ever in the English Premier League with a total of 30 games scheduled over the coming week. It will certainly be a telling few days for league leaders Liverpool, who face Manchester City tonight and then Chelsea two days later in two huge away games. Arsenal’s trip to Newcastle on 29 December also looks interesting while Manchester United welcome in the New Year by hosting Tottenham at Old Trafford. Our tips for these games are City to down Liverpool before the Reds bounce back at Chelsea, Arsenal to prove too strong for the Magpies and United to continue their better form of late with a win over Tottenham.

The biggest game in the NBA this weekend sees Miami travel to Portland looking to continue their latest winning streak, which currently sits at six. But they find themselves up against a Trailblazers outfit that leads the strong Western Conference at 23-5 this season ahead of Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the Clippers. This is a clash of the NBA’s two bets offensive sides, although there are some question marks over Portland’s defensive abilities having held opponents to under 100 just twice in 11 games in December despite winning nine of those games. Unless they can tighten up, we think the Heat might make them pay.

Make sure you don’t miss the final week of the NFL regular season in what promises to be one of the most dramatic finale’s in years. Countless sides still find themselves fighting for either top position in their divisions or to sneak into the play-offs, including New Orleans who could earn a first week bye or miss the play-offs altogether depending on results. They do, however, have the luxury of hosting the 4-11 Buccaneers. The Seahawks and 49ers are still fighting it out for the #1 seed in the NFC with Seattle able to secure top spot if they beat the Rams which they should do comfortably at home. Another two huge NFC games see Philadelphia face Dallas and the Packers against Chicago with the winners of each sneaking into the play-offs while in the AFC the Patriots and Broncos will both be hoping to finish top when they face the Bills and Raiders respectively.

And the new tennis season gets underway in Perth on Saturday with the Hopman Cup seeing eight teams fighting it out for their countries. Poland pairing Grzegorz Panfil and Agnieszka Radwanska are the top seeds but we think the winner of Group B will go all the way with John Isner and Sloane Stephens representing the United States, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Aliza Cornet representing France and Radek Stepanek and Petra Kvitova representing the Czech Republic. Our money will be on the USA.

Good luck and good punting.