This Week in Sport: 26th October – 1st November 2020

As Halloween week gets underway, sporting fans will be treated to a smorgasbord of spine-tingling action from some of the greatest leagues in the world, and we’ve compiled it all into one handy list for your delectation.

The week begins with NFL action as the LA Rams entertain the Chicago Bears in an NFC showdown. There is a game 6 in the World Series on Tuesday as Tampa Bay Rays and LA Dodgers continue to struggle for advantage in the series. Champions League football returns on Wednesday as Juventus and Barcelona lock horns, before we are treated to a festival of darts the following day as the European Championship gets underway.

First plays second in the Super League on Friday as St Helens meet Wigan, before the Six Nations finally draws to a close the following evening. The week concludes with another instalment of a classic Premier League fixture, as Manchester United play host to Arsenal.

Monday 26th October (00:15AM GMT Tuesday 27th) – American Football: Los Angeles Rams v Chicago Bears

Two high-flying teams face off in Monday Night Football in the NFL as the Los Angeles Rams host the Chicago Bears at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday 27th October at 12:15AM GMT.

After reaching the heady heights of Super Bowl LIII in 2019, the Rams flattered to deceive last term, failing to appear in a postseason match for the first time since Sean McVay took the reigns in Southern California. This time around, LA have enjoyed a decent start, if a little mixed, going into Monday’s clash with a 4-2 record. Last time out, they faltered to a disappointing 24-16 loss against NFC West rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, and McVay’s men will be desperate to bounce back as they return to the limelight on Monday Night Football.

Meanwhile, the Bears have been one of the surprise packages of this new NFL season thus far, having lost just one of their initial six matches. Chicago have been winning ugly, but their 5 narrow victories are enough to see them take top spot in the NFC North with an impressive 5-1 record heading into week 7. The Bears have relied heavily upon their suffocating defensive unit, led by linebacker Khalil Mack, who has recorded 4.5 sacks and 21 tackles already this term. Mack will have his sights set on an underperforming Jared Goff this week, but which of these NFC giants will prevail on the night?

Tuesday 27th October (00:08AM GMT Wednesday 28th) – Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers v Tampa Bay Rays

This unique MLB season is still alive and kicking, ast he Dodgers and the Rays prepare to play out a potentially decisive game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday.

As Dodgers and Rays fans continue to be put through the ringer in this enthralling series, neutrals will be eagerly awaiting a game 6 which could prove decisive in the race for the Commissioner’s Trophy. Before a pitch was thrown, many commentators dubbed this World Series matchup as a David versus Goliath story, due to the vast financial disparities between the two outfits. However, due to some exceptional baseball, and some last-minute dramatics along the way, Tampa Bay find themselves preparing for a World Series game 6 for the first time in their brief history.

Meanwhile, despite some individual mistakes hindering the Dodgers throughout this series, they are able to call upon a far superior level of experience at this stage of the competition. Since relocating to LA, the Dodgers have competed in 12 World Series’, including three in the last four campaigns. With 19, Corey Seager leads the league in runs in the postseason, and the shortstop will be looking to add to his tally of 8 home runs to help his side over the line in this captivating World Series. Will we see a game 7 this week, or will the champions be crowned on Tuesday night? Tune in to find out!

Wednesday 28th October 8:00PM GMT – Football: Juventus v Barcelona

Two of Europe’s heavy-hitters meet in Turin for a crucial Champions League clash - the action begins at 8:00PM GMT on Wednesday

Group G’s finest will tussle for top spot this week, after both Juventus and Barcelona began their campaigns with relatively routine wins last week. Juve enjoyed a fruitful excursion to Kyiv with Alvaro Morata netting twice in a 2-0 win, whilst Barcelona strolled to a 5-1 victory over UCL new-boys, Ferencváros.

Though both of these teams regularly dine at Europe’s top table, their paths have only crossed seven times in the Champions League prior to Wednesday’s affair. Of those seven meetings, the Italian side have won just once, with Barcelona winning twice, whilst the draw remains the most frequent outcome, with four of the seven ties ending honours even. The most notable meeting between these two teams remains the 2015 Champions League Final, on which occasion Barca ran out 3-1 winners to lift their fifth and most recent title.

Barcelona have endured a disastrous start to La Liga this term, having won just two games from five. They head into Wednesday’s clash on the back of a devastating El Clasico loss, but a win over Juventus would go some way to restoring some pride for the Catalonians. Who will gain the advantage in Group G after this one?

Thursday 29th October 7:00PM GMT – Darts: European Championship

The PDC Tour continues to provide plenty of light entertainment in these testing times, with this week’s offering coming from the König-Pilsener-Arena.

There will be a festival of darts on Thursday as 16 matches play out at König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen. All 32 entrants to this year’s European Championship are set to be in action, as the highly anticipated three-day event gets underway. Only six different players have won this tournament since its inauguration in 2008, with Rob Cross being the most recent of those. However, some indifferent recent displays from ‘Voltage’ means he is third favourite to go all the way and retain his title, with Messrs Wright and van Gerwen the two more likely candidates.

MvG enjoyed an extended period of dominance at this competition between 2014 and 2017, but has failed to lift the title in his two successive appearances. Though the Dutchman continues to top the order of merit, he has struggled for consistency so far this year, and a win in Oberhausen could really ignite van Gerwen’s season ahead of the upcoming World Championship.

Friday 30th October 7:45PM GMT – Rugby League: St Helens v Wigan Warriors

Two storied rivals meet in this showpiece Super League clash as first-placed St Helens take on second-placed Wigan Warriors at Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens on Friday 30th October at 7:45PM GMT. 

St Helens will entertain their closest rivals at the Super League summit on Friday as Wigan Warriors make the trip to the Totally Wicked Stadium. The hosts are currently enjoying a nine-game winning streak in the league, with their last defeat coming before lockdown back in March. The Saints are on track for a third straight Super League minor premiership, but will the wheels come off when Wigan come to town? Current form suggests not, as the last meeting between these two sides ended in humiliation for the Warriors, who drudged out of the AJ Bell Stadium last month having lost 42-0 to the Saints.

That disheartening display will still be fresh in the minds of a Wigan side who still have plenty to play for this term. Going into Friday’s meeting, the Warriors sit just two points behind St Helens, and a win on Friday could see them draw level with the Saints, but would likely remain second on points difference. Amid rumours that his long-term future may lie elsewhere, Wigan continue to rely upon the try-scoring talents of Bevan French, who leads the league in tries scored with 13 on the season. After scoring a hat-trick last time out against Salford, French will return to the field full of confidence, but could he prove the difference in this top-of-the-table clash?

This is one of the oldest derbies in sport. Since their first match in November 1895, these teams have played together 325 times with Wigan leading the head-to-head 185-123-17.

Saturday 31st October from 2:15PM GMT – Rugby Union: Six Nations Final Day

Who will be crowned champions at this year’s Six Nations Championship? Wales and Scotland face off at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli 2:15PM GMT, England look to put themselves in a title-winning position when they face Italy at Stadio Olimpico at 4:45PM GMT, and the final game between France and Ireland will decide it all, kicking off at 8:10pm at the Stade de France.

There are no tricks about Saturday’s Halloween-day offering, as the Six Nations draws to a close with three chilling clashes. A whole nine months after the 5-round competition began, we will finally discover which nation wins out. Three teams still remain in the hunt to win this year’s championship, but table-topping Ireland remain in the driving seat heading into the last round of fixtures. They are the only side to have their fate entirely in their own hands, as they know a bonus-point win over the French on Saturday would be enough to secure their fifth Six Nations title. Their opponents still have title aspirations of their own, but France would need to not only win against Ireland, but also better England’s result to move top of the standings.

Meanwhile, despite needing other results to go their way, England will certainly fancy their chances of going all the way ahead of Saturday’s action. They will be faced with a clash against a winless Italy side who have struggled for any sort of form at this year’s competition. Though there are several permutations that will influence the title race, England will likely be champions should they record a bonus-point win over the Italians, and France overcome Ireland. With plenty still riding on this weekend’s fixtures, make sure you don’t miss a minute of the action!

Sunday 1st November 4:30PM GMT – Football: Manchester United v Arsenal

The latest edition of one of the Premier League’s grandest fixtures will play out from 4:30PM GMT on Sunday.

There will be a meeting of Premier League royalty at Old Trafford this weekend as Mikel Arteta leads his Arsenal team north to take on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Red Devils. Since the league’s inception in 1992, these two teams have collected more points, recorded more wins and scored more goals than any other sides to have competed in England’s top tier. Though there is less of an edge to this fixture than there was when United and Arsenal were operating at the summit of the Premier League, there is still plenty riding on Sunday’s proceedings.

Manchester United will be looking to really kickstart their campaign, having won just two of their opening five fixtures. The Red Devils have had very little to celebrate domestically so far this term, but a first clean sheet of the season against Chelsea last time out would certainly have been well received by an under-pressure Solskjaer. Meanwhile, Arsenal will be looking to bounce back after suffering their third league defeat of the campaign last time out against Leicester. Though the Gunners have lost both of their fixtures against sides in the ‘Big 6’ this term, they will certainly fancy their chances against an underperforming United side. Who will take the spoils in this edition of a classic Premier League fixture?

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Premier League, with Burnley set to take on Tottenham in a Monday night offering. The football doesn’t stop there though, with AC Milan and Roma doing battle on the continent in Serie A on the same day. There is action from the UEFA Champions League for the second week running, with Borussia Mönchengladbach entertaining Real Madrid on Tuesday, whilst Marseille will host Manchester City concurrently. Manchester United will look to build upon their heroics in Paris last week as they welcome RB Leipzig to Old Trafford. Meanwhile, the Europa League will return to our screens on Thursday, with the headline affairs including: Antwerp versus Tottenham, AC Milan versus Sparta Prague, Real Sociedad versus Napoli and Lille versus Celtic. There is Premier League action on Friday night which comes in the shape of Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Crystal Palace, before Liverpool and West Ham United lock horns the following day. First plays third in the MLS Eastern Conference on Sunday as Columbus entertain Philadelphia. This week of elite footballing action concludes with an unmissable offering from the women’s game, as Everton meet Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup Final.

This captivating Indian Premier League season continues on Tuesday, as the Delhi Capitals prepare to take on David Warner and his Sunrisers Hyderabad side. There is another showcase of IPL action the very next day, as the table-topping Mumbai Indians do battle with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Two more instalments take to our screens on Saturday, when the Delhi Capitals meet the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore face the Sunrisers Hyderabad. There is plenty of international action to keep an eye on too, as Pakistan thrash out the 1st and 2nd ODIs with Zimbabwe on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

Baltimore will return to action on Sunday following their bye week, as they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to M&T Bank Stadium in a blockbuster game. There is more NFL action on Sunday as the Seattle Seahawks entertain the San Francisco 49ers. The showpiece game from this week’s crop of NCAA College Football fixtures will see Penn State take on Ohio State at Beaver Stadium.

The Pro14 Rugby season resumes this week, with Munster facing Cardiff Blues on Monday. Rugby Union fans will be looking forward to an action-packed weekend, starting with Australia’s tussle with New Zealand in the Rugby Championship, before the Bulls clash with the Stormers in Super Rugby Unlocked. Despite England already having been crowned champions, there is one more round of fixtures from the Women’s Six Nations this weekend, headlined by France’s meeting with Ireland.

This week’s F1 action comes in the shape of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix coming live from the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari track in Imola.

As we enter into the business end of the Super League season, the fixtures continue to come thick and fast. In a jam-packed week, the standout fixture will see Catalans Dragons thrash it out with Warrington Wolves on Monday.

Boxing fans will certainly be in for a treat on Saturday night, with two unmissable bouts set to take place. Firstly, the unbeaten WBA Lightweight champion Gervonta Davis will thrash it out with WBA Super Featherweight champ Leo Santa Cruz in San Antonio. Meanwhile, there is a highly anticipated heavyweight bout taking place across the pond, as Derek Chisora prepares to give Oleksandr Usyk his first real test since entering the heavyweight division.

Another thrilling event will play out on the European Tour this weekend, as the Cyprus Open gets underway on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.

After Monday’s rest day, there are six more days of unmissable cycling taking place this week from the Vuelta a España.

On the ATP World Tour, the Erste Bank Open begins on Monday with the round of 32 and will play out all week long, with the competition drawing to a close on Sunday.

Another week of action from the International Swimming League season will play out in Budapest.  

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

Fixture

Photos by Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Dodgers, FC Barcelona, Professional Darts Corporation, St.Helens R.F.C. Official, Irish Rugby, Manchester United

Written and information correct on 25th October at 9pm GMT

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