As the green shoots of recovery begin to stem across the planet, we at Fixture Calendar are across all the sporting action taking place this week. It’s been a long three months without sport to write about and we are excited to be back. In what will be remembered as an historic week in the world of sport, many competitions are opening their doors for a return to action – but not as we know it. One of the biggest stories of the week is the return of the Premier League. Arsenal will look to stay in the hunt for European football as they travel to Manchester City. Tottenham Hotspur will also be eyeing European football as they host Manchester United. The week ends with a much-anticipated Merseyside Derby. Liverpool can secure the title with a win if Arsenal beat Manchester City. Elsewhere, rowers Gus Barton and Duncan Roy will continue their attempt to row unsupported around Britain in a world record attempt. Royal Ascot begins, marking the return of one of flat racing’s greatest festivals. The PGA Tour continues with the RBC Heritage in South Carolina, with many of the sport’s top stars taking part. The week also sees the continuation of the Super Rugby Aotearoa regional tournament, with the Chiefs and Blues facing off.
Duncan Roy and Gus Barton continue their attempt to break the world record for rowing around Britain.
Two men will continue their attempt to set a new world record for circumnavigating Britain unsupported. The current record, set in 2013, stands at 41 days, 4 hours, and 38 minutes. Duncan Roy and Gus Barton, seasoned ocean rowers with numerous voyages and records between them, launched from Ramsgate on Sunday night. The circumnavigation of Britain is considered one of the most difficult feats an ocean rower can undertake. Extreme weather, strong tides, busy shipping lanes, and the sheer physical toll will challenge even the most experienced athlete. Despite the adversities, Roy and Barton are doing this for great causes – NHS Charities Together and the mental health charity Sport in Mind. This is a world record attempt you will want to keep an eye on (use the link above to track their progress).
Royal Ascot, one of the most prestigious flat racing events, begins at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot.
Royal Ascots returns for 2020, albeit without fans in attendance. The highlights of day one are the two Group I races – The Queen Anne Stakes and The King’s Stands Stakes. In the Queen Anne, the far and away favourite is Circus Maximus at 3/1. Circus Maximus is a fast runner with the stamina needed to see out the race. His closest challenger is likely to be Fox Chairman, though there are doubts surrounding this relative newcomer’s pace. In the King’s Stand, Battaash will look to finally take home a victory after finishing second in 2018 and 2019. However he has to contend with strong racers such as Glass Slippers and Liberty Beach. With a full day of racing on the schedule, you won’t want to miss a single moment.
The Premier League returns with Manchester City hosting Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Whilst Pep Guardiola would have been grateful to hang on to his title a few weeks longer, there will be great relief as top flight football returns. City’s bid to win three-straight Premier League titles was over long before the mid-season hiatus, on account of Liverpool’s complete dominance. Although their future participation in the Champions League has been cast into doubt over legal matters, Guardiola will be desperate to end this intermittent campaign on a high, and a win on Wednesday will see his side move 15 points clear of Manchester United in fifth. Meanwhile, Arsenal still have plenty to play for this term, and currently sit just eight points behind Chelsea in fourth, who have played a game more. The Gunners’ pre-lockdown form was impeccable, with the north London outfit having last lost a game way back in December, but can they continue that impressive streak?
The PGA Tour continues with the RBC Heritage at the Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The PGA Tour’s second event back from its pandemic hiatus will feature a full field of 154 golfers. This provides the tournament with a historically strong field featuring 114 Tour winners. This includes the top five players in the world, headlined by world number one Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, currently third in the PGA standings, will look to gain ground on current tour leader Im Sung-jae. Notably missing is Tiger Woods, who will continue to wait to make his return to the tour. While Woods has not played at Heritage since 1999, there was speculation he may make his return here. Be sure you don’t miss a single swing of what will be an incredibly competitive four days of golf.
In a crucial Premier League match, Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Manchester United will be paying former manager Jose Mourinho a visit at his new north London home this week, as the Red Devils look to move seven points clear of a struggling Tottenham side. Whilst the ban on Premier League football brought a halt to United’s momentum built up from going ten games unbeaten, for Spurs it provided some respite from the relentlessness of the top flight. Mourinho’s side are currently languishing from a six-game winless streak, which saw them crash out of the FA Cup and Champions League, whilst also dropping eight Premier League points. Whilst it remains unclear how well the players will adapt to the implementation of behind-closed-doors-football, this heavyweight matchup will surely provide a strong indication as to which side hasn’t lost sight of their Champions League aspirations.
In Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Chiefs take on the Blues at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.
If you’re desperate to find some semblance of normality in these uncertain times, we suggest you tune into the Super Rugby clash between the Chiefs and Blues on Saturday morning. Due to New Zealand’s exemplary response to the Covid-19 pandemic, crowds have started to return to sporting stadiums across the nation. Last weekend, 43,000 fans watched the Blues overcome the Hurricanes in a thrilling season opener, and they will look to maintain their perfect start as they travel to Hamilton this weekend. Meanwhile, Chiefs faltered on opening day, losing out to the Highlanders by a narrow one-point margin. With some of the league’s most explosive players in action this weekend, make sure you don’t miss a second of the action!
In the Premier League, all eyes will be on Merseyside as the Merseyside Derby takes place at Goodison Park in Liverpool.
Today, Liverpool’s 30-year title drought may come to an end. If Arsenal can overcome Manchester City on Wednesday, Liverpool just need to beat their rivals to be crowned champions. If City win on Wednesday, Liverpool will have to wait till next week at home to clinch. Liverpool have been the dominant force this season, leading the league since week two. Jürgen Klopp’s side has been a cohesive and unstoppable machine. When these rivals met in December, Liverpool came away with a decisive 5-2 victory and enter as heavy favourites. With the footballing world watching, can they find that all-important win?
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Bundesliga which continues to captivate football fans across the world. Tuesday sees Borussia Mönchengladbach take on Wolfsburg at Borussia-Park, before RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund lock horns on Saturday in a titanic top-of-the-table clash. La Liga also made a welcome return at the weekend, and the action from Spain’s top tier will continue on Thursday as Real Madrid welcome Valencia to their new temporary home at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. Zinedine Zidane’s men will be in action once again on Sunday to take on Real Sociedad, whilst title rivals Barcelona headline Friday’s action with the Blaugrana making the cross-country trip to take on Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. After a 99-day hiatus, the Premier League has finally returned, and the fixtures are now coming thick and fast. A stand-out game sees Aston Villa welcome Chelsea to Villa Park where Lampard will look to keep his grasp on fourth spot. There is plenty more action to watch out for in the AFL as Richmond host Hawthorn on Thursday before Collingwood entertain St Kilda at the MCG in the early hours of Saturday morning. Rugby League fans will turn their attentions to the NRL this week, with two games headlining the action, starting with the Panthers’ clash with Storm on Friday, before the Roosters face the Eels and the Raiders take on the Sea Eagles at the weekend. More Rugby Union from New Zealand comes in the shape of a Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and Crusaders at Sky Stadium in Wellington. Duncan Roy and Gus Barton will continue their Round Britain Row while Royal Ascot also continues throughout the week. Finally, the second round of action on the Adria Tour will begin on Saturday, as the world’s elite tennis stars grace the courts of Zadar.
A week of world class sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Duncan Roy, Official Ascot & Royal Ascot, Manchester City, RBC Heritage, Tottenham Hotspur, Chiefs Rugby
Written and information correct on 14th June at 10pm GMT
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