Get ready for a thrilling week of sport. Grand Slam tennis returns as the Australian Open gets underway. Many of the sport’s biggest starts are in action on day one. Chelsea and Arsenal meet for the 200th time as they clash in the Premier League. Also in the Premier League, Wolverhampton Wanderers will take on the seemingly unstoppable Liverpool. The slightly off-form Houston Rockets will take on the in-form Denver Nuggets for a vital NBA fixture. South Africa and England begin their fourth and final Test. Can England ride their momentum to a win? Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur meet in the FA Cup, each side looking to make a run in the competition. Saracens return to Premiership Rugby action against Harlequins. This will be the first league match for the defending champions since receiving the shocking news of their relegation at season’s end.
The Australian Open gets underway at Melbourne Park in Melbourne.
Grand Slam tennis is back and the Australian Open wastes no time in bringing us some must-watch games. In the men’s draw, both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are in action. The last time neither of them made the Final was 2014, will they continue this outstanding run of tournament dominance? In the women’s draw, Naomi Osaka begins her tournament. Can the fan favourite player defend her title? World number one Ashleigh Barty also plays her first game. Could she win a Grand Slam tournament on her home soil? Serena Williams will also begin the chase for her first Grand Slam title since 2017. A tournament win would see Williams tie Margaret Court’s 47-year-old record for total Grand Slam titles. Don’t miss any of the action today.
Rivals Chelsea and Arsenal clash in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge in London.
Arsenal will make the short trip across London on Tuesday night to take on Frank Lampard’s Chelsea in a crucial Premier League matchup. Both sides have struggled for consistency this term, with Chelsea failing to register back to back wins since November, whilst Arsenal have won just one of their last seven Premier League outings. Stamford Bridge hasn’t been a happy stomping ground for the Gunners in recent years, with their last win on Chelsea’s turf coming way back in 2011. Mikel Arteta will be hoping for a better return this week as the Spaniard goes in search of just his second league win as a Premier League manager.
In the NBA, the Houston Rockets host the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center in Houston.
The Houston Rockets will look to rally as they welcome the Nuggets to Texas. A poor run of form has seen the Rockets stumble, dropping to sixth in a hyper-competitive Western Conference. James Harden is still playing like an MVP, putting up 37.1 points a game. However, the Rockets as a whole have been unable to find their footing against recent opponents. As teams enter the second half of their seasons, Houston needs every win they can get. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are second, chasing the dominant Lakers. Denver’s deep rotation and all-round talent have proven decisive, showing that they don’t need a lone superstar to be competitive. This is certainly going to be one to watch.
Wolverhampton Wanderers take on Liverpool in a Premier League clash at the Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton.
Liverpool will be greeted by a raucous Molineux crowd on Thursday as the Reds look to keep their title bid on track. Jurgen Klopp’s men remain the only unbeaten side in Europe’s top five leagues this term, but Wolves will surely provide the German with another stern examination. Only two teams have managed to beat the Wanderers on their home patch this season and it remains one of the more menacing cauldrons to visit in the English game. Liverpool narrowly edged out a 1-0 win in the return fixture earlier in the campaign, but Wolves would’ve taken encouragement from their impressive performance on the day. Will the Reds’ perfect record remain intact in the Midlands?
South Africa and England begin the fourth Test of their Tour at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
The tourists will travel to Johannesburg looking to defend their series lead after going 2-1 up last week in Port Elizabeth. An extraordinary innings with bat in hand saw England take control of the 3rd Test right from the very start and the hosts’ misery was compounded further as the visitors forced a follow on when South Africa took to the crease. Though Ben Stokes recorded another exceptional century, it was 22-year-old Ollie Pope who stole the headlines, scoring his maiden Test century, finishing with 135 not out. England will be full of confidence after their resounding victory last week and they’ll now look to close the series out in Johannesburg.
In the fourth round of the FA Cup, Southampton host Tottenham Hotspur at St. Mary’s Stadium in Southampton.
The FA Cup provides Tottenham with a welcome relief from the unforgiving Premier League, a competition in which they have failed to win since Boxing Day. However, they have been drawn one of the trickier tests in the fourth round as they travel to face a Southampton side who have enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in recent weeks. The Saints have beaten three of the Premier League’s top eight sides in their last five outings, including Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham on New Year’s Day. The Portuguese will be out for revenge on Saturday, however, as he hopes to bring a first trophy to N17 for over a decade.
In what has become a highly-anticipated Premiership Rugby matchup, Harlequins host Saracens at Twickenham Stoop in London.
All eyes will be on this match. Saracens return to league play for the first time since it was announced they would be relegated at season’s end. The best side in English rugby accepted the punishment as a result of breaching the league’s salary cap for the past three seasons. However, the side will look to put this news behind them as they look to demonstrate their pedigree. Their last league match was a 62-5 demolition of Worcester, demonstrating just how good they are. Harlequins, currently 8th in the league, will try and capitalise on their opponent’s predicament. They enter the match looking for their first league win in three matches. This should be a thrilling fixture.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the NBA where there are some key clashes this week. The two Los Angeles franchises are in action as the Lakers face the Boston Celtics whilst the Clippers take on the Mavericks in Dallas. There is an all-eastern clash on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors host the Philadelphia 76ers, before the Miami Heat meet the Clippers on Friday. The 76ers are back in action on Saturday as they tussle with the Lakers and then the Denver Nuggets will meet the Houston Rockets for the second time in five days to round off the week’s action in the NBA. Cricket fans will be treated to another jam-packed week of action, starting with an offering from the Big Bash League as the Sydney Sixers entertain the Melbourne Stars. The BBL season continues on Saturday with the Sixers back in action as they take on Melbourne Renegades. There is also plenty of international cricket to watch out for as South Africa play England in the 4th Test whilst New Zealand host India for the 1st and 2nd T20 Internationals. The prestigious Sumo Wrestling January Tournament continues all week long. There will be plenty of tennis on offer in the shape of the Australian Open live from Melbourne Park. With a full round of fixtures in both the Premier League and FA Cup this week, there is six days of football for you to enjoy. There is a pivotal league clash between Leicester City and West Ham United on Wednesday night, Watford will face Tranmere Rovers in a third round FA Cup replay, before Man City host Fulham on Sunday. The Six Day Series in the world of track cycling begins on Thursday and will play out for the rest of the week. Meanwhile, the PGA Tour throws up another unmissable offering this week with the Farmers Insurance Open getting underway on Thursday. The Premiership Rugby fixtures continue to come thick and fast with league leaders Exeter Chiefs facing Sale Sharks. The exhilarating World Rugby Sevens Series begins on Saturday in Hamilton, New Zealand, with both the men’s and the women’s tournaments getting underway. This week’s mouth-watering action concludes with two All-Star games in America as the AFC face the NFC in the NFL Pro Bowl whilst the 2020 All-Star Game in the NHL will also play out on Sunday.
A week of world class sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Australian Open, Chelsea FC, Houston Rockets, Liverpool Football Club, England Cricket, Southampton FC, Saracens
Written and information correct on 19th January at 10pm GMT
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