It’s great to see the sporting world well and truly back in full swing now that the Christmas and New Year’s period has passed us by.
There has been plenty happening in both the EPL and La Liga, the final lead-up tournaments before the Australian Tennis Open concluded and the Dakar Rally again lived up to its brutal reputation, but let’s start with the NFL where the Super Bowl picture is starting to narrow.
The Patriots and Seahawks each moved to within one win of the Super Bowl on Saturday as they beat the Colts and Saints respectively. New England proved far too strong for the Colts with LeGarrette Blount crossing for four touchdowns in their 43-22 win while the Seahawks took a 16-0 lead into half-time before holding on for a 23-15 win over New Orleans.
The Patriots can now look forward to a huge clash with the Denver Broncos in the American Conference final next week to determine one Super Bowl spot while Seattle face the 49ers, who were too strong for Carolina, for the other spot.
There were no surprises in the English Premier League as big guns Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham all recorded wins to maintain the status quo, although they will no doubt all be hoping Arsenal slips up at Aston Villa tonight.
Real Madrid were the big winners in La Liga, their 1-0 win over Espanyol overnight helping them close the gap on league leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid after they played out a 0-0 draw 24 hours earlier. Real now sit just three points behind the two.
There were some interesting results in the tennis, with Juan Martin del Potro claiming his 18th career title in Sydney and John Isner winning in Auckland. Lleyton Hewitt, who won the Brisbane title a week earlier, also continued his impressive start to the year by downing world number four Andy Murray in an exhibition match.
And the infamous Dakar Rally endured a horror stage which saw three more people – motorcyclist Eric Palante and two journalists – lose their lives, bringing the tally to 23 deaths in the 36 years the event has been running. It is sure to cast a pall over celebrations when the winner is crowned later this week. Spain’s Nani Roma currently leads.