This Week in Sport: 23rd – 29th November 2020

Before you begrudgingly devise another tedious quiz round, or reluctantly bake yet another batch of banana bread, we’ve come up with an alternative way to fill your time this week! We have rummaged through the best sporting events taking place across the globe this week, and what better way to begin proceedings than with a Premier League blockbuster featuring Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton. We then turn our attentions to the snooker and the UK Championship, which starts in earnest on Monday, but Day 2 of the action will headline Tuesday’s sporting schedule. After Champions League football stepped aside for the international break, it will return to the limelight on Wednesday when Inter Milan will host Real Madrid. An NFL showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens headlines Thursday’s Thanksgiving bill across the pond, before the Super League Grand Final between Wigan Warriors and St Helens plays out the very next evening. An exhibition boxing fight for the ages will take place on Saturday night, as ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson makes a return to the ring to take on Roy Jones Jr. This thrilling week of action is bookended with Premier League action, with Sunday’s offering seeing Chelsea take on Tottenham in a fiery London derby. 

Monday 23rd November 8:00PM GMT – Football: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Southampton

Relieve the Monday blues with some Monday Night Football from the Premier League – kick-off from Molineux comes at 8:00PM GMT. 

Under the watchful eye of manager Nuno Espirito Santo, Wolves have constructed one of the league’s most stubborn defences. In fact, no other side has kept more Premier League clean sheets than Santo’s side since the beginning of 2020. However, the Portuguese’s problem revolves solely around his team’s impotence at the other end of the field. Wolves are one of just three teams who have failed to score more than twice in any of their Premier League outings so far this term, a record Santo will be desperate to change sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Southampton have undoubtedly been one of the Premier League’s surprise packages this term, with Saints currently enjoying a five-game unbeaten streak. Since their second half capitulation against Spurs back in September, Southampton have gone on to win five of the six subsequent matches. Though there have certainly been some bumps in the road along the way, Ralph Hasenhüttl has certainly steered Southampton in the right direction, with Saints fans now dreaming of Europa League qualification for just the third time this millennium. Saints are eyeing a fourth consecutive top flight win for the first time in over four years, but can Wolves halt the march?

Tuesday 24th November 9:30AM GMT – Snooker: UK Championship Day 2 

Day 2 of the UK Championship features some of the sport’s biggest names – tune in from 9:30AM GMT to find out how they get on. 

With sixteen matches taking places across three sessions on this jam-packed day of snooker, there is really no need to be anywhere else on Tuesday! The morning’s running order is headlined by last year’s runner-up Stephen Maguire, who will be looking to emulate his run to the Final at the Marshall Arena this time round. The Scot will kick-off his campaign against the lesser-known Iulian Boiko – a fifteen-year-old from Ukraine making his bow at the UK Championship. 

The big games continue to come thick and fast, with World Championship runner-up Kyren Wilson in action from 1:30PM, as he takes on fellow Englishman Ashley Hugill. Wilson currently sits fifth in the world rankings and already has four ranking titles to his name. However, ‘The Warrior’ has never progressed past the Quarter-final stages of this competition, and he will be desperate for a better return at this year’s behind-closed-doors event. 

Finally, the evening session will feature plenty more big names, none bigger than ‘The Magician’ Shaun Murphy, who will go up against Lee Walker in an unmissable first round showdown. Murphy has reached three UK Championship Finals in his illustrious career, converting one of those Final appearances into a title win. However, since his last appearance in the competition’s showpiece match back in 2017, Murphy has been dumped out in the first round in his two subsequent UK Championship appearances. There are plenty of superstars in action on Day 2, but which player are you most excited to see?

Wednesday 25th November 8:00PM GMT – Football: Inter Milan v Real Madrid

Two European heavyweights cross swords in a Champions League Group B showdown, starting at 8:00PM GMT on Wednesday night. 

One of the most iconic footballing arenas on the planet will play host to a titanic Champions League clash on Wednesday night, as Real Madrid descend on the San Siro. After making a disappointing start to their campaign, Los Blancos currently find themselves third in a competitive Group B, having won just one of their opening three games. To add salt to the wounds, they will be without captain Sergio Ramos, who picked up an injury whilst on international duty with Spain. The absence of the 34-year-old is typically a bad omen in this competition, with Madrid having lost seven of the last eight Champions League games they’ve played without Ramos in the side.

Meanwhile, the situation is just as drastic for an Inter Milan side who are currently propping up the group, and remain winless in the competition heading into the fourth round of fixtures. Despite scoring twice at the Bernabeu just over three weeks ago, I Nerazzurri eventually fell to their first European defeat this term. A win for Antonio Conte’s men could reignite their European dreams, but can they finally get one over on the 13-time champions?

Thursday 26th November 1:20AM GMT (Friday 27th) – American Football: Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens

Two Super Bowl contenders lock horns at Heinz Field in this unmissable NFL Thanksgiving showdown. The action starts at 1:20AM GMT on Friday.

On a special day of footballing action across America, the Steelers versus the Ravens tops the bill. Not only do these two sides share a fierce rivalry, they are also tussling for top spot in the AFC North, which currently belongs to the Steelers, who are enjoying one of their best seasons in recent memory. Going into Thursday’s clash with a perfect record of 10-0, there is growing expectation around Pittsburgh that this could be the season the Vince Lombardi trophy returns to Heinz Field for the first time since 2008. 

Meanwhile, just ten games into the new season, Ravens have already lost more times than they did in the entirety of last term, as they continue to lose ground on Pittsburgh in the AFC North. For one reason or another, 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson just hasn’t found his rhythm just yet this time around, and currently sits 18th in the QB rankings. Though they have already notched up six wins, you feel Baltimore must drastically improve if they are to return to the playoffs for the third straight season. 

Friday 27th November 8:00PM GMT – Rugby League: Wigan Warriors v St Helens

The 2020 Super League Grand Final will be contested between Wigan Warriors and St Helens on Friday night at KCOM Stadium from 8:00PM GMT. 

When it comes to the Super League’s showpiece event, no two sides are more well accustomed to the formalities of the day than Wigan Warriors and St Helens. Eight of the ten Grand Finals played out across the last decade featured at least one of these two teams and, in total, Wigan and St Helens have met in the Grand Final on three previous occasions.

Wigan will potentially hold the psychological advantage over their adversaries on Friday night, having come out on top in the league phase to end St Helens’ two-year reign. Moreover, in their last meeting at the end of last month, it was the Warriors who came out on top once more, coming away from Totally Wicked Stadium with a 18-6 win. 

However, Wigan will be all too aware that St Helens posses the power to simply blow teams away, including the table-toppers themselves. Back in September, the Saints dissected a youthful-looking Wigan side, running out 42-0 winners on Warriors’ turf. With the regular season series tied 1-1, Friday’s Grand Final is wonderfully poised, but which side will take the spoils on the night?

Saturday 28th November 4:00AM GMT (estimate) – Boxing: Mike Tyson v Roy Jones Jr

Two veterans of the sport will go toe-to-toe in this unique event at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Within boxing circles, Mike Tyson’s announcement that he will be returning to the ring was greeted with a general sense of sheer scepticism. It has been over 35 years since ‘Iron’ Mike made his professional bow against Hector Mercedes in New York, and just over 15 years since his final pro bout against Kevin McBride. Tyson called time on his professional career with an outstanding record of 50 wins and six losses, but will the 54-year-old rediscover the devastating power that saw him record 44 knockouts in his career on Saturday night? 

Though Tyson will be slight favourite going into the bout, his opponent can reflect on an impeccable professional career of his own. Roy Jones Jr notched up 66 wins across his 29-year career, losing out on just nine occasions. In his pomp, Jones Jr was widely considered one of the greatest pound for pound fighters on the planet, and, despite retiring two years ago, retains the record for most wins in unified title fights in the light heavyweight division with 12. Expect eight rounds of explosive action, brought to you by two of the sport’s greatest ever entertainers.

Sunday 29th November 4:30PM GMT – Football: Chelsea v Tottenham 

Two London rivals compete for bragging rights in this Premier League showdown from 4:30PM GMT. 

The eyes of the footballing world will be firmly fixed on Stamford Bridge come Sunday afternoon, as Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur renew their fiery rivalry in another titanic clash. On the face of it, this fixture is simply a case of north versus southwest, as two of London’s finest battle for supremacy. However, due to both teams’ similarly impressive starts to the campaign, there will be added incentive to take maximum points on Sunday, as Chelsea and Tottenham continue to operate in the upper echelons of the Premier League table. 

After dispatching Manchester City last time out, Tottenham extended their winning run to four games in the league, but the tough tests continue to be thrown Jose Mourinho’s way. The Portuguese lost both league games against Frank Lampard’s men last term, and he will be desperate to get one over on his former colleague for the second time this season.

Chelsea are enjoying an impressive unbeaten run of their own, having gone nine games without loss. Their last defeat came at the hands of Sunday’s opponents, with Tottenham dumping the Blues out of the League Cup back in September. Though there is great excitement surrounding Chelsea’s dynamic attacking force, it has been the defensive unit who have taken the plaudits during their recent run of form. Frank Lampard’s men have conceded just once in the last seven games, keeping six clean sheets. Only Spurs have conceded fewer goals in the league this term, but which defence will come out on top this weekend?

Other sporting highlights from around the globe 

Honourable mentions from around the globe go to the NFL where a Monday night showcase will play out, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcome the Los Angeles Rams to Raymond James Stadium. Plenty more unmissable ties are scheduled for this weekend, including the Indianapolis Colts’ clash with the Tennessee Titans and the Buccaneers meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. There is a heavyweight NCAA matchup on Saturday which pits Alabama against Auburn. 

The two Semifinals at the Grand Slam of Darts will play out on Monday night, ahead of Tuesday’s eagerly anticipated Final. The tournaments continue to come thick and fast on the PDC Tour, with the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals getting underway on Friday. 

With domestic football returning across Europe this week, there is a flood of top flight action in the continent’s biggest competitions. On Tuesday, Chelsea’s European tour continues as they travel to take on Rennes in the Champions League, whilst PSG and RB Leipzig do battle a few hours down the road in Paris. Attentions will then turn to the Europa League on Thursday night where four fixtures will headline the night’s action as: Braga take on Leicester City, Lille host AC Milan, Rangers entertain Benfica and CSKA Moscow face off with Feyenoord. The domestic action in the Premier League this weekend initially concerns Crystal Palace and Newcastle United as the pair do battle at Selhurst Park. There are three more unmissable fixtures on Sunday that will see Everton meet Leeds, Southampton face Manchester United and Arsenal lock horns with Wolves. There are two titanic clashes in Serie A this week as Napoli and Roma compete in a top of the table clash, whilst Sassuolo take on Inter. Meanwhile, in La Liga, table-topping Real Sociedad will face Villarreal in a pivotal clash. The two Eastern Conference Semifinals will play out on Sunday as we enter the business-end of the MLS season. 

There is action on the European Tour this weekend as the Alfred Dunhill Championship plays out from Thursday at Leonard Creek County Club in South Africa. Meanwhile, on the Ladies European Tour, the Andalucia Costa del Sol Spanish Ladies Open will get underway on Thursday and be contested across the weekend.

There is plenty of international cricket to sink your teeth into this week, starting with the 1st ODI between Australia and India. Meanwhile, New Zealand meet West Indies in the 1st T20I, whilst South Africa take on England in the same format  with all of these games taking place on Friday. There will be a repeat of these three fixtures on Sunday as the sides meet for the second time in their respective series’.

This week’s Rugby Union action sees Sharks face Pumas and Western Province take on Bulls in the first round of the Currie Cup, whilst the Mitre 10 Championship Final plays out at Westpac Stadium on Friday. Meanwhile, the Mitre 10 Premiership Final will play out the following day, before Exeter Chiefs meet Bath Rugby in Premiership Rugby action. On Sunday, there is a Pro14 Rugby clash between Scarlets and Leinster Rugby not to be missed. There is plenty of action on the international rugby scene too, as Argentina entertain New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, whilst Wales and England lock horns in the Autumn Nations Cup

Two unbeaten British heavyweights will finally do battle in London this weekend, as Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois compete in one of the most highly anticipated all-British bouts in years.

The electrifying Bahrain Grand Prix will play out on Sunday as the Formula 1 season edges ever closer to its conclusion.

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

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Photos by Wolves, Kyren Wilson, Real Madrid C.F., Baltimore Ravens, Wigan Warriors, Mike Tyson, Chelsea FC

Written and information correct on 22nd November at 9pm GMT

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