This Week in Sport: 10th – 16th May 2021

Once again, we are looking ahead to an exciting week in sport. On Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights are being visited by the Colorado Avalanche in a clash between the teams at the top of the NHL West division. On Tuesday, the football world will look towards Old Trafford, where Manchester United and Leicester City are in Premier League action. Eyes will turn to the NBA on Wednesday, where the Utah Jazz host the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference, as the Trail Blazers seek to secure playoff qualification. From Thursday, golf fans will be looking towards Texas and the AT&T Byron Nelson, which will conclude on Sunday.

As the weekend approaches, eyes will be drawn towards the conclusion of the WTA and ATP events in Rome. On Saturday, the football world will again be watching Leicester City as they face Chelsea in a highly-anticipated FA Cup final at Wembley. Whilst on Sunday, Chelsea’s women’s team will be playing Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final in Sweden.

Monday 10th May 2:00AM GMT (Tuesday 11th) - Ice Hockey: Vegas Golden Knights v Colorado Avalanche

The teams in 1st and 2nd in the NHL’s Western division will play each other in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, looking to ensure favourable seeding for the upcoming playoffs. 

The Golden Knights won the last clash between these two sides 5-2 in late April, and they hold a 4 wins to 3 lead over the regular season so far. Whilst the Golden Knights are currently leading the West division, they can still be caught by Colorado, and both teams will be hungry to win the division, and secure the top seed spot - and home advantage - for the division playoffs. This is especially important this season, with a seemingly large difference between the top 3 teams (Golden Knights, Avalanche, and Minnesota Wild), and 4th placed St Louis Blues, who have 10 fewer wins.

Avalanche had Nathan Mackinnon out injured in their win against the Los Angeles Kings, and they will be hoping that he will be back, although Tyson Jost ably deputised last time out, and their coach Jared Bednar made it clear that his priority is having as many players as possible fit for the upcoming Playoffs, rather than necessarily having the better seeding.

The Golden Knights got an overtime victory last time out against the St Louis Blues, in what many viewed as a likely Playoffs preview. In that game, Reilly Smith scored his first career hat-trick, and the Golden Knights will be hoping to use the momentum gathered in their 7 game home winning streak to make it 8 on Monday. This is sure to be an intriguing clash.

Tuesday 11th May 5:00PM GMT - Football: Manchester United v Leicester City

Tuesday evening’s Premier League clash sees two teams in the top 4 fight it out at Old Trafford: Manchester United need a win to keep their slim title hopes alive, and Leicester need a win to continue their march towards Champions League qualification.

Manchester United have already guaranteed qualification for next season’s Champions League and can only win the title if they win their 4 remaining games, and Manchester City lose their 3. In fact, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has already hinted that he will be looking to rotate his side to give them the best shot in the Europa League final at the end of May. But they will surely want to make their rivals work for title success.

If Solskjær does indeed rotate his side, Brendan Rodgers’ team may well see this as an opportunity to gain much needed points in their race for the top 4, especially considering they have a challenging run in and are only a few points ahead of challengers West Ham and Liverpool. Despite the importance of them picking up 3 points here, they may have half an eye on Saturday’s FA Cup Final against Chelsea. Leicester come into this game on an awkward run of form, having lost to Newcastle after a 1-1 draw against an injury hit Southampton side in the middle of last week, and a win here would give their confidence a much needed boost for the run in. Both sides and their managers are known for their attacking prowess, and if they let the shackles go, this could well be a memorable match.

Wednesday 12th May 1:00AM GMT (Thursday 13th) - Basketball: Utah Jazz v Portland Trail Blazers

Two form teams in the NBA’s Western Conference will battle it out in Salt Lake City as the Portland Trail Blazers chase direct playoff qualification, while the Utah Jazz will be looking to protect their place at the top of the division.

The Jazz come into this week on a streak of 3 straight wins, and they will be hoping to extend that streak against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday to carry momentum into this game. The Jazz became the first team to secure playoff qualification on 25th April, but the Phoenix Suns are chasing them down, and the Jazz still have plenty to do to secure the top seed for the Playoffs.

Portland’s season still hangs in the balance. As of Sunday, they sit 6th in the Western Conference, largely thanks to 3 successive wins, and 7 wins in their last 8. With the new format this year giving teams placed 7th-10th in the Conference a shot at playoff qualification in a mini tournament, the Trail Blazers will be eager to continue their momentum, and obtain direct qualification. The Jazz have been victorious in the two previous meetings this season, winning 120-100 in December, and 122-103 in April, and they will go into this clash as favourites.

Thursday 13th May 10:00AM GMT - Golf: AT&T Byron Nelson

The leading golfers of the PGA tour will descend to Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson, being hosted at TPC Craig Ranch for the first time.

For four days starting Thursday, the eyes of the golfing world will be on the AT&T Bryon Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, Mckinney, Texas. This is the first year the tournament has been hosted in Mckinney after moving from its home of two years - Trinity Forest Golf Club. In fact, this is the first time Craig Ranch will host a PGA tour event, so many of the players may not be quite as familiar with the course as they would be with other venues. We may well find the golfer who learns the fastest takes home the winner’s share of the $8.1 million total prize pool.

There is a high quality field for this event, featuring 4 of the top 10 and 10 of the top 25 ranked golfers in the world; this is a significant increase on the last editions of the event, and we can be sure of high-quality golf throughout the day. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and the big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau, all sitting in the top 5 in the world will be hoping to win on Sunday. Similarly, Master’s winner Hideki Matsuyama is making his first competition appearance following his Augusta success, and 2019’s Byron Nelson winner Sung Kang, will be looking to defend his title at the tournament’s new home.

The new course is long at over 7,400 yards - and we may expect it to favour the style of Bryson DeChambeau who is famed for his distance - but it is nevertheless a modern, and technically challenging course. This year, the course will be hosting fans at approximately 25% capacity, but we can still expect a great atmosphere and some incredible golf.

Friday 14th May 11:00AM GMT - Tennis: ATP and WTA Internazionali BNL d'Italia

The ATP and WTA Italian Open takes place this week, and some of the world’s strongest players will be hoping to build momentum on the clay at Rome ahead of the upcoming French Open.

On Friday, tennis fans are in for a treat as the WTA and ATP tour events in Rome head towards their conclusion, ahead of the French open later this month. The men’s event has a strong field, including World Number 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic and 9 time winner Rafael Nadal, who is perhaps the best Clay court player of all time. According to the seeding, these two should meet in the final, but they will both have to be at their best to reach that stage, with Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev likely semi-final opponents for Djokovic and Nadal respectively.

Three former winners will be contesting the WTA tour event in Rome this week, joined by world number 1 Ashleigh Barty, number 2 Naomi Osaka, and a host of other big names. With such a competitive field, no one has an easy path to the final, and we can expect close matches throughout the competition.

Saturday 15th May 4:15PM GMT - Football: FA Cup Final

The FA Cup will be decided on Saturday evening, as Chelsea face Leicester City at Wembley in this year’s Final.

Thomas Tuchel will manage Chelsea in a final for the first time this weekend, as they face Leicester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley. Tuchel only became Chelsea manager in January this year, taking over from Frank Lampard, but has made a strong impact. In his short stint as manager, he appears to have rejuvenated Chelsea, leading them to big results in the league, including a recent victory over Manchester City, as well as an impressive 2 leg Champions League semi-final victory over Real Madrid.

Brendan Rodgers has been similarly impressive in his time as Leicester City manager, and will be hoping to lead the Foxes to their first silverware since their incredible 2015-16 Premier League triumph in only his second full season at the club. Leicester have not been on their greatest run of form recently, having lost to Newcastle in the league on Saturday, and they are looking at a tough run of league matches to close out the season, knowing they will still need good results to qualify for the Champions League. Nevertheless, on Saturday, Leicester’s eyes will be on Wembley.

Sunday 16th May 7.00PM GMT - Football: Women’s Champions League Final

On Sunday evening, in the Women’s Champions League Final, Chelsea Women will face Barcelona Femeni, to determine the winner of this year’s women’s Champions League.

Chelsea narrowly beat Manchester City to the Women’s Super League title on Sunday, with a 5-0 home win against Reading, and they will look to carry this momentum into the Champions League final. Emma Hayes’ team have deservedly won plaudits this season for their dominance on the pitch over the last 6 seasons, winning 4 league titles in that time, but Chelsea have never managed to replicate their domestic success in European competition, only reaching the semi-final stage twice. Will they be able to change that this year?

Barcelona’s women’s side has also just won their national league, and like Chelsea, have never won the Champions League. They did make the final in 2019 but ultimately lost 4-1 to Lyon. They will hope to win on Sunday this year to go one better. Either way, we are guaranteed a new champion, and you will need to tune in on Sunday to find out who!

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions around the globe go to Rugby Union: in the Premiership, Sale will visit Bath on Friday, in just one of the exciting fixtures this weekend. The Rainbow Cup continues, with Munster hosting Connacht and Leinster hosting Ulster on Friday, in addition to various fixtures over the rest of the weekend. In the South African Rainbow Cup, the Sharks will visit the Blues in Pretoria. The Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition will start with a full gameweek, in which the Reds will visit the Highlanders on Friday, and the Brumbies will visit the Crusaders on Saturday. There is also Major League Rugby action this weekend, including Rugby ATL hosting the New England Free Jacks on Saturday and Old Glory DC hosting the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday.

Despite the suspension of the IPL, there is plenty of Cricket action this week, with a full round of County Championship action starting Thursday, including Durham hosting Worcestershire.

For Ice Hockey fans, there is plenty on offer this week. In Monday’s NHL action, the Florida Panthers host Tampa Bay Lightning, as 2nd plays 3rd in the Central Division. On Wednesday, Montreal will host Edmonton, looking to secure themselves a playoff place. Whilst Edmonton will be looking to win again on Saturday when they host the Vancouver Canucks, before the Canucks play in a bottom of the division clash against the Calgary Flames on Sunday.

In Cycling, the Giro D’Italia continues throughout the week as the race turns towards the mountains and the climbing begins.

In the world of Baseball, there are a number of big fixtures this week. In MLB, on Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers host the St Louis Cardinals in a clash between the teams at the top of the NL West, whilst the Red Sox will be hoping to continue their good run when they host the Oakland Athletics. The Cardinals are again in action on Saturday when they visit the San Diego Padres in a game that both teams will feel they need to win.

Sumo Wrestling’s May tournament continues throughout the week in Japan.

In Basketball, there is a full week of NBA fixtures. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers host the New York Knicks, and both sides will be wanting a win to improve their playoff seeding. Later the same day, 6th will play 7th in the Eastern Conference as the Miami Heat visit the Boston Celtics. On Sunday, the Knicks will play the Celtics, with both teams hunting for 4th in the Western Conference. The WNBA season will begin on Sunday, when one of the eye-catching fixtures sees Connecticut Sun host Phoenix Mercury.

In Football, Wednesday sees a big game in La Liga as Atlético Madrid host Real Sociedad, with the Madrid side looking to stay at the top of the table. In the Premier League, Chelsea will play Arsenal on Wednesday in a London derby, looking to move closer to Champions League qualification, whilst Arsenal will be looking to bounce back after losing to Villareal in the Europa League semi-final. On Thursday, Aston Villa will play Everton in what promises to be an exciting game where neither team has much to lose. In Serie A, Juventus will host Inter Milan on Saturday, and the hosts will be hoping to win against the newly minted champions and continue their fight for a top 4 finish. In the MLS Eastern Conference, New England Revolution will host Columbus Crew SC on Sunday, with both sides looking to continue their strong starts to the season.

In Netball this week, there are a number of Vitality Netball Superleague matches. Including Manchester Thunder hosting Saracens Mavericks on Sunday in what promises to be a close game between two sides in the top half of the table.

For Motorsport fans, the MotoGP season continues this weekend at Bugatti Circuit Le Mans, where home rider Fabio Quartararo will be looking to build on his 2 wins from 4 this season following surgery after the last race in Portugal.

For MMA fans, UFC 262 is this weekend and includes a number of experienced fighters in spectacle which is sure to be worth watching.

In Australian Rules Football, there is plenty on offer this week, including an anticipated clash between the teams 2nd and 3rd in the AFL, when the Western Bulldogs visit Port Adelaide.

A week of world-class sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by Colorado Avalanche, Manchester United, Portland Trail Blazers, Brooks Koepka, Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Chelsea FC, UEFA Women’s Champions League

Written and information correct on 9th May at 8:30pm GMT

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