This Week in Sport: 20th – 26th July

The sporting calendar has thrown up another pulsating seven days of action. The second-biggest darts major of the year continues in Milton Keynes with the Betfred World Matchplay, while the compelling series between England and the West Indies draws to a close in Manchester.

This week also sees the culmination of the Premier League season, with relegation spots and Champions League places still to be decided. Likewise, the utterly unpredictable NWSL Challenge Cup concludes, while the MLB season begins, and kicks off with two of sport’s biggest rivals going head to head on Thursday evening, as the LA Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants. The AFL has also served up a mouthwatering Port Adelaide versus St Kilda clash, as the race for the finals begins to hot up.

Monday 20th July 5:00PM GMT – Darts: Betfred World Matchplay

The Betfred World Matchplay darts tournament continues at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Monday 20th July at 5:00PM GMT.

The biggest dart’s event of the summer enters its third day, and fans have already been treated to two engrossing evenings of action at the Betfred World Matchplay. 

Round 1 continues on Monday, with five matches to look forward to. Two-time PDC World Darts champion Adrian Lewis takes on former world number one Steve Beaton, and double Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price faces Holland’s Danny Noppert. World number 6 Daryl Gurney is up against Ricky Evans, world number 10 Ian White faces Joe Cullen and five-time World Matchplay quarterfinalist Dave Chisnall plays the Dutch Destroyer Vincent van der Voort.

Former champions Michael van Gerwen, James Wade and Gary Anderson have already all booked their place in the second round. Who will join them and take another step closer to getting their hands on the Phil Taylor Trophy?

Tuesday 21st July 7:15PM GMT – Football: Aston Villa v Arsenal

In the Premier League, Aston Villa host Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham on Tuesday 21st July at 7:15PM GMT.

Villa are fighting for their lives at the bottom of the Premier League and are in desperate need of all three points. Proceedings towards the lower end of the table are finely poised, and victory for Dean Smith’s side could lift them out of the relegation zone with one game remaining.

However, they face an Arsenal side buoyed by their recent FA Cup Semi-final triumph over Manchester City. Mikel Arteta appears to have stumbled across a winning formula in recent weeks, with the Gunners losing just one of their last eight. Arsenal are still in with a shot of securing a spot in next season’s Europa League, but will need to win their last two to keep these hopes alive. With Premier League survival and European football on the line, Tuesday’s Villa Park clash is a high stakes affair.

Wednesday 22nd July 4:30PM GMT – Football: Portland Thorns v Houston Dash

At the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah, the Portland Thorns face the Houston Dash in the Semifinals of the NWSL Challenge Cup on Wednesday 22nd July at 4:30PM GMT.

The Portland Thorns entered the Quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup without a win and facing the undefeated North Carolina Courage. However, a goal from rookie Morgan Weaver and an outstanding performance from third-choice goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom gave Portland the upset. The Thorns have been underestimated all tournament long and now they’re a game from the Final.

The Dash have shown themselves to be a new team this year. After many seasons of mediocrity, Houston are showing themselves to be a contender. Anchored by players like Rachel Daly, Kristie Mewis and a wealth of offseason acquisitions, Houston has become a dangerous opponent. After edging Utah in the Quarterfinals, the Dash will be eager to prove themselves as true contenders.

These are two ambitious teams and this is going to be a match to remember.

Thursday 23rd July 3:08AM GMT (Friday 24th) – Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants begin the MLB season at Dodger Stadium on Friday 24th July at 3:08AM GMT.  

The Dodgers enter this pandemic-shortened season with one of the strongest squads in baseball. The crown jewel of the team is in the outfield. In center field they have 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger. And in right field? Their blockbuster acquisition – 2018 AL MVP and four-time All Star, Mookie Betts. With an experienced and reliable pitching core also available to them, the Dodgers are one of the teams to beat.

This season will be one of rebuilding for the Giants. Star catcher Buster Posey has opted out and the team just doesn’t have the pieces to compete this season. However, the games will provide excellent opportunities for the Giant’s younger players like Mike Yastrzemski and Joey Bart.

This is a rivalry spanning 130 years, and a welcome return for baseball.

Friday 25th July 10:00AM GMT – Cricket: England v West Indies (Day 1, 3rd Test)

England and the West Indies begin their Third and final Test at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday 24th July at 10:00AM GMT.

Cricket returned in style at the beginning of July, as the West Indies beat England by four wickets in the first Test in Southampton. 

The hosts were much improved in the second Test in Manchester, with the welcome return of Stuart Broad keeping England’s hopes of victory alive. Broad had been rested for the first Test, but took three explosive wickets in just 14 deliveries to pull the hosts back into contention after a complete washout on the third day.

The series could be finely poised come the start of third and final Test on Friday. Will the West Indies win a series in England for the first time since 1988? Or can England complete an impressive comeback with victory in the third Test?

Saturday 25th July 9:40AM GMT – Australian Rules Football: Port Adelaide v St Kilda

In the AFL, Port Adelaide face St Kilda at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday 23rd July at 9:40AM GMT.

Port Adelaide will look to continue their flying start to the AFL season when they host St Kilda on Saturday. They have not reached the AFL finals for the past two seasons, but currently sit top of the ladder after six wins from their opening seven fixtures. Having opened the season with comprehensive victories over Gold Coast, Adelaide, Fremantle and West Coast, Port Adelaide then slipped to their first defeat of the season at Brisbane. However, they recovered with hard fought wins over GWS Giants and Carlton to top the table by four points.

Opponents St Kilda have had a mixed bag this season; the Saints sit tenth in the table after winning three and losing three of their opening six AFL fixtures - but their three victories have come in their last four outings. Can St Kilda upset the AFL’s form side on Saturday?

Sunday 26th July 3:00PM GMT – Football: Premier League Final Day

On Sunday 26th July at 3:00PM GMT, the final day of the Premier League kicks off at stadiums around England.

The Premier League season finally comes to an end today, with plenty of matches carrying major stakes.

At the top of the table, Chelsea meet Wolves. Chelsea are hoping to secure Champions League football while Wolves look to return to the Europa League next season. The clash between Leicester and Manchester United will ultimately decide which European tournament the respective sides play in next season.

And at the bottom, Bournemouth will need a miracle against Everton if they want to remain in the Premier League. Meanwhile, Watford may need at least a point against Arsenal to ensure their own survival.

This is a day of football you won’t want to miss.

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions around the globe begin in Italy, as the the Series A season begins to draw to a close. Lazio can keep their faint title hopes alive with victory over current leaders Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Monday, while AC Milan host second place Atalanta at the San Siro on Friday.

Further football action comes from the States, where the MLS is Back Tournament playoffs begin on Saturday. In women’s football, the NWSL Challenge Cup concludes on Sunday with the final at the Rio Tinto Stadium. As the Chinese Super League begins, Guangzhou Evergrande face Shanghai Shenhua.

In England, a mouthwatering Premier League matchup between rivals Liverpool and Chelsea takes place at Anfield on Wednesday. There are 17 English top flight matches left to be played this week before the season concludes, including Europa League chasing Wolves against Crystal Palace on Monday, and relegation threatened Watford versus Manchester City on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the UK, the Second Test between England and the West Indies concludes on Monday, with England currently leading by 219 and the tourists still to bat.

Further sporting action in Britain comes from Newcastle Upon Tyne, where the European Tour stops off for the British Masters. The four-day event, hosted by Lee Westwood, begins on Wednesday and concludes on Saturday.

There’s more golf on display in Blaine in the United States, with Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau and defending champion Matthew Wolff headlining the 3M Open on the PGA Tour between Thursday and Sunday.

In the NRL, Parramatta Eels host West Tigers on Thursday, while Canberra Raiders face South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday.

Meanwhile in Super Rugby, Crusaders play Hurricanes at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday, before the Blues host the Chiefs at Eden Park in Aukland on Sunday 

The unbeaten Vergil Ortiz Jr takes on Samuel Vargas in a welterweight bout in Indio on Friday, before Joe Joyce takes on Michael Wallisch in London on Saturday.

In Sumo Wrestling, the 2020 July Tournament continues throughout the week at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Japan. The MLB season begins with a blockbuster matchup between the defending champion Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees.

Please continue to show your support for the remarkable Round Britain Row challenge throughout the week.

Finally, the MotoGP stops off in Spain on Sunday for the Andalucía Grand Prix.

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

Fixture

Photos by Professional Darts Corporation, Arsenal Official, Houston Dash, MLB, West Indies Cricket, Port Adelaide, Leicester City

Written and information correct on 19th July at 10pm GMT 

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