There is plenty more unmissable sporting action across the globe this week, starting with the cricket in South Africa as the hosts take on England on Day 4 of the 2nd Test, where England will hope to capitalise on their lead accrued on Day 3. Though the hectic Christmas period is over, the games continue to come thick and fast for Premier League sides as the Carabao Cup Semifinals take place this week, pitting Manchester United against Manchester City and Leicester City versus Everton. Two of the Big Bash League’s strongest sides will lock horns on Wednesday with the Melbourne Stars welcoming the Sydney Thunder to the MCG. The Philadelphia 76ers will entertain the Boston Celtics on Thursday in an all-eastern NBA clash. The last two Quarterfinals at the ATP Cup will play out in Sydney on Friday before Tottenham welcome Liverpool to north London on Saturday for a blockbuster Premier League clash. Finally, the NFL playoffs continue on Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs facing the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round.
South Africa continue their second Test with England at the Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town.
England will pick up where they left off from Sunday, continuing a second innings that currently stands at 218/4. 24-year-old Dom Sibley has been the star of the innings and will start the day on 85 not out. England have learned from their first Test loss and South Africa have been unable to find a foothold so far. The hosts will look for something different as they hope for quick wickets against England. Given the efficiency of the English bowling, South Africa will not want to face a large chase. It’s going to be a crucial day for both sides, and one you won’t want to miss.
In the Semifinals of the Carabao Cup, Manchester United host Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Pep Guardiola is looking to lift the Carabao Cup for the third straight year to take his side’s tally in this competition to seven wins. Standing in his way at the Semi-final stage are local rivals Manchester United, who have won this competition five times themselves. United will perhaps hold the mental advantage ahead of Tuesday’s pivotal showdown after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer masterminded a win at the Etihad last month in the Premier League. However, with the title seemingly now out of reach for City, Guardiola will be desperate to get his hands on another trophy this term and the Carabao Cup could be his side’s best chance of silverware, so be sure to expect a cracker at Old Trafford.
The Melbourne Stars host the Sydney Thunder at the MCG in Melbourne for a thrilling BBL fixture.
The Melbourne Stars are off an excellent start to the season, having gone 5-1 in their opening six matches. This includes a three-game winning streak coming into this match. Marcus Stoinis has been excellent at the crease, scoring 281 runs for the side. Meanwhile, the bowling has been deadly. Amongst the star performers is Haris Rauf, who has taken ten wickets in just three innings of work. Meanwhile, the Sydney Thunder started the season strong but have faltered as of late. They will be eager to avenge last week’s loss to the Stars, which cost them first place in the standings. A high-stakes match, it’s certainly one to watch.
At the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia 76ers host the Boston Celtics for a vital NBA clash.
The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking for a reversal of fortunes as they welcome a red-hot Celtics side to Philly. A poor run of form to end 2019 saw the 76ers lose ground in a tight conference race. Their young core, who looked so promising at the start of the season, has faltered. The same can’t be said for the Boston Celtics, whose young core is flourishing. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both averaging over twenty points a game as they take on bigger team roles. However, the 76ers have beaten the Celtics once already this season. Can they do it again?
The Quarterfinals of the ATP Cup conclude at the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney.
This new addition to the ATP tour has already seen plenty of excitement. Now, the first knockout round concludes. Who will come out of Group A to take their spot in the Quarterfinals? Novak Djokovic’s Serbia or a veteran French side looking for the upset? The day’s other match primarily features the winner of Group B. Can Rafael Nadal lead Spain to success? Or will Japan, led by world number 73 Yoshihito Nishioka, be the surprise story of the competition? The two group winners will face the best-performing runners up, which could be a number of talented teams. Expect some unmissable tennis from today.
Tottenham Hotspur take on unstoppable Liverpool at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a Premier League clash.
Though 28 points currently separate these two teams in the Premier League standings, Saturday’s game could prove crucial in helping to achieve the two sides’ respective ambitions this term. Whilst Liverpool are contending for their first ever Premier League title, Jose Mourinho will be desperate to keep his side playing Champions League football next term, though Spurs are currently six points off the top four pace set by Chelsea. As if the visit of Liverpool at any time of the season wasn’t difficult enough, Mourinho will have to cope with the recent loss of Harry Kane who is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring issue at Southampton on New Year’s Day. Will Tottenham be the team to bring Liverpool’s incredible unbeaten run to an end?
In the NFL playoffs, the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
This AFC divisional round matchup is a battle between two young quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes will look to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to back-to-back AFC Championship games. The young Texas native has had another phenomenal year, capped off by a six-game unbeaten steak to finish the season. He will look to overcome Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. Last week, Watson’s perseverance was crucial in his team’s overtime win against the Buffalo Bills. However, the Texans will enter this matchup as the underdogs. The team has never made a championship game but they have the talent to cause an upset. This a game you won’t want to miss.
Honourable mentions around the globe to go to The Snooker Masters. This prestigious snooker tournament begins on Sunday. In cricket India and Sri Lanka will lock horns once more in the 2nd and 3rd T20I. There is plenty more T20 cricket to watch out for as the Adelaide Strikers meet the Sydney Sixers before the Melbourne Stars thrash it out with the aforementioned Sixers in the BBL. The third round of the FA Cup concludes with an intriguing clash between Arsenal and Leeds United at the Emirates Stadium. The inaugural ATP Cup will play out all week long, with the final taking place on Sunday. The second Semi-final in the Carabao Cup will play out on Wednesday as Leicester City and Aston Villa contest the first leg at King Power Stadium. There is a rare Friday night fixture in the Premier League this week as Sheffield United host a revitalised West Ham United side. Two NFL Divisional Round clashes will take place on Saturday as title favourite Baltimore Ravens entertain the Tennessee Titans whilst the San Francisco 49ers take on the Minnesota Vikings and on Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will face the Green Bay Packers in the final Divisional round game. There is European Rugby Champions Cup action on Saturday with ASM Clermont Auvergne doing battle with Ulster Rugby and on Sunday there is a meeting between Racing 92 and Munster. Finally, Day 1 of the January Tournament in Sumo Wrestling will also get underway on Sunday.
A week of world class sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by England Cricket, Manchester City, Melbourne Stars, Philadelphia 76ers, ATP Cup, Tottenham Hotspurs, Kansas City Chiefs
Written and information correct on 5th January at 10pm GMT
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