This Week in Sport: 30th November – 6th December 2020

Before we get into this week’s events, everyone here at Fixture Calendar would like pay tribute to Argentine football legend Diego Maradona, who died last week aged 60.

As we start to dust off the Christmas decorations for another year, we’ve delivered seven super stocking fillers that are sure to get you in the festive mood. As is customary at this special time of year, there will be plenty of football for your delectation, starting with Monday’s offering that’ll see West Ham United take on Aston Villa at London Stadium. The Champions League then comes to the fore on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Atletico Madrid’s tie with Bayern Munich topping the bill on Tuesday, before Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain provide the entertainment from Europe’s top table the following evening. The international Test match between New Zealand and West Indies is the dish of the day on Thursday, whilst South Africa and England meet in the 1st ODI the following day. The weekend’s action is headlined by Errol Spence Jr’s title defence against Danny Garcia on Saturday, and the Autumn Nations Cup Final which will play out on Sunday afternoon between England and France. 

Monday 30th November 8:00PM GMT – Football: West Ham United v Aston Villa 

It’s a battle of the claret and blue in the Premier League on Monday night – kick off from the London Stadium comes at 8:00PM GMT.

Another breathless weekend of Premier League action will draw to a close on Monday night, but not before West Ham and Aston Villa have gone toe-to-toe in east London. Both teams have made similarly impressive starts to the 2020/21 Premier League season, with Villa perched just one point ahead of their adversaries going into Monday’s meeting.

Aston Villa enjoyed immense success on their last trip to the capital a few weeks back when they made light work of a spluttering Arsenal side to take all three points back to Birmingham. However, Dean Smith is faced with the prospect of being without Ross Barkley, who has been a shining light for the Villains since joining in the summer. 

Meanwhile, David Moyes’ West Ham side remain one of the league’s form teams having lost just one of their last seven top flight outings. Their success so far has been built on a solid defence, which has conceded just 10 goals this term - only Tottenham Hotspur have conceded fewer goals. With three of the last four meetings between these two sides ending in a draw, will there be anything to split West Ham and Aston Villa on Monday night?

Tuesday 1st December 8:00PM GMT – Football: Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich

Group A’s finest lock horns in a Tuesday night Champions League thriller – kick-off is at 8:00PM GMT.

Two of Europe’s most in-form teams will cross swords in Madrid on Tuesday evening, with both sides eyeing a spot in the last 16.

After being crowned champions of Europe back in August, Bayern Munich unquestionably remain the team to beat in European football. They are one of just three teams who head into Gameweek 5 with a perfect record in the group stages, but can they keep it intact in the Spanish capital on Tuesday? Recent history would suggest not, as Bayern have never beaten Atleti on their turf.

Atletico Madrid’s domestic form has been almost flawless this term and they remain the only unbeaten side in Spain’s top tier. However, Diego Simeone’s men have been unable to carry over their impressive league form into the Champions League thus far, having won just one of their first four group games. Furthermore, they were on the wrong side of a 4-0 drubbing when they faced Munich back in October, but will they exact revenge on their German adversaries on Tuesday?

Wednesday 2nd December 8:00PM GMT – Football: Manchester United v Paris Saint-Germain 

Attentions turn to Old Trafford for this midweek Champions League blockbuster – the action begins at 8:00PM GMT. 

Manchester United have appeared to save much of their good form for their European excursions this term, having won three of their first four ties in a tricky-looking Group H. The Red Devils have already scored 12 goals in this year’s competition, just four fewer than they have managed in their nine Premier League outings thus far. In what has been a remarkable year for striker Marcus Rashford, the 23-year-old continues to lead United’s frontline to some tune, having notched five goals in four group games – only Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland has scored more. 

Meanwhile, after reaching the Final of this competition last season, PSG’s fortunes have taken a turn for the worse. Though they still lead the way in Ligue 1, they have already lost as many league games as they did in the entirety of the last campaign. Furthermore, having picked up just two wins from their four Group H games so far, the French giants have left themselves with plenty to do to secure safe passage to the knockout phase. However, a win at Old Trafford would go some way to easing the pressures that are mounting on manager Thomas Tuchel, as he goes in search of an elusive first Champions League title.

Thursday 3rd December 10:00PM GMT (Wednesday 2nd) – Cricket: New Zealand v West Indies 

There is an exciting offering from New Zealand on Thursday as the 1st Test gets underway at Seddon Park from 10:00PM GMT on Wednesday 2nd December. 

With the two sides now well acquainted following their T20 series, New Zealand and West Indies will lock horns once more in the Test format. Currently ranked as the second-best Test team on the planet, New Zealand will go into the meeting as strong favourites to come out on top. The Black Caps have lost just one of their last ten Test series, and last faltered on home turf way back in 2017. In Neil Wagner, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, New Zealand possess three of the world’s top ten ranked Test bowlers, but will the three pacemen prove the difference once more in Thursday’s initial meeting? 

Looking to quell the threat of the host’s brutal bowling brigade will be Jason Holder and his West Indies side who will be eager to gain some valuable ranking points in New Zealand this week. In recent years, the Windies have struggled to find their form when playing away from home, having won just one of their last 11 Test series on opposition shores. However, in Jason Holder they have a captain capable of producing brilliance in these showcase affairs, and the all-rounder will likely need to be somewhere near his best if the Windies are to get a result this week. 

Friday 4th December 11:00AM GMT – Cricket: South Africa v England 

The reigning champions of the world are in ODI action in Cape Town on Friday – play is set to commence at 11:00AM GMT. 

England are enjoying a spell of almost complete dominance on the ODI scene of late. Ranked the best ODI team in the world, England have lost just one of their last ten series in this particular format. However, that solitary loss came in their last ODI series back in September, when Australia reigned supreme in a drama-filled series in Manchester. The English will be desperate to return to winning ways in a country where they have had some thrilling series recently. 

South Africa’s ODI form is not to be sniffed at either, with the Proteas having last lost an ODI series back in 2018. However, they did taste ODI defeat in a one-off World Cup clash with England last year, losing out by a resounding 104 runs in the competition’s curtain-raiser. Though England will be confident of successfully defending their title as the world’s best ODI side, they could only muster a draw from their last ODI series against South Africa, and they will be desperate to go one better this time around to end their tour in some style. 

Saturday 5th December 2:00AM GMT (Sunday 6th) – Boxing: Errol Spence Jr v Danny Garcia

A welterweight world title fight for the ages will play out at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night, with ring walks scheduled for no earlier than 2:00AM GMT on Sunday 6th December. 

It will be another early start for European boxing fans this weekend, as two of the welterweight division’s most exciting fighters go toe-to-toe in Arlington, Texas. In one of the most highly anticipated bouts of 2020, Errol “The Truth” Spence will look to defend his WBC and IBF World Titles against Danny “Swift” Garcia. Widely considered one of the greatest active pound for pound fighters, Spence Jr remains one of the hottest prospects in world boxing, and will take a perfect record of 26-0 into Saturday’s matchup. The 30-year-old has already successfully defended his titles on four separate occasions, most recently against compatriot Shawn Porter in what was branded as one of the best fights of 2019. 

Meanwhile, Danny Garcia will be desperate to take this opportunity to return to the very top of the welterweight division, after previously claiming the WBC title back in 2016. With a professional record of 36 wins and just two losses, Garcia will certainly provide a stern examination of Spence’s unified title credentials. These two fighters have each knocked out 21 of their respective opponents, but how will the fight be won in the Lone Star State this weekend?

Sunday 6th December 2:00PM GMT – Rugby Union: England v France

Two international heavyweights lock horns from 2:00PM GMT on Sunday as England and France contest the Autumn Nations Cup Final.

This four-week festival of rugby will draw to a close on Sunday, when two of the top international sides in the world will thrash it out in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup Final. There is little question that England and France have been the two standout sides through the group stages of this competition, with both teams carrying a perfect record into Sunday’s showpiece affair. 

The recent record between England has France has been remarkably even, with each side claiming three wins apiece from the last six meetings. However, France hold a dismal record when playing at England’s home of Twickenham. Since winning a World Cup warm-up clash back in 2007, the French haven’t won on any of their subsequent seven visits to the English capital. 

These two international juggernauts last met in a Six Nations clash all the way back in February, on which occasion the French ran out 24-17 winners. Will we see history repeat itself on Sunday, or can England successfully defend their home patch to reign supreme in the first Autumn Nations Cup? 

Other sporting highlights from around the globe 

Honourable mentions from around the globe firstly go to the cricket, with New Zealand taking on West Indies in the 3rd T20I on Monday. South Africa and England then take the stage the following day, as they thrash out the 3rd T20I. The cricket continues on Wednesday with Australia and India doing battle in the 3rd ODI. New Zealand and West Indies will meet again across the weekend to contest Days 2, 3 and 4 of the 1st Test, whilst South Africa and England lock horns in the 2nd ODI on Sunday. 

We enter the second week of proceedings at the UK Championship Snooker from Monday, when the third round will get underway. 

There is a festival of football to sink your teeth into this week, starting with MLS action on Monday which will see the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas lock horns in the Conference Semifinals. Europe’s elite club competition then dominates the schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with the standout Champions League ties including Liverpool versus Ajax and Borussia Mönchengladbach versus Inter Milan. Fans of the MLS have more to look forward to, as the Conference Semi-final between Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota takes place this week. Both teams will be looking to book their spot in one of the two Conference Finals which are set to play out on Sunday evening. There will be plenty of title contenders in Europa League action on Thursday, as Granada take on PSV Eindhoven, Roma entertain BSC Young Boys and Feyenoord play Dinamo Zagreb. The top two in the Bundesliga meet for the first time this term on Saturday, with top spot on offer for the winner of Bayern Munich versus RB Leipzig. Meanwhile, in La Liga, Barcelona will look to make up ground on the chasing pack as they take on Cadiz on Saturday night. Two ties headline Saturday’s action from the Premier League, as West Ham United face Manchester United, whilst Chelsea lock horns with Leeds United, then there is a blockbuster North London Derby between Tottenham and Arsenal on Sunday. The weekend’s Serie A offering presents a mouth-watering clash as Roma face off with Sassuolo at Stadio Olimpico on Sunday afternoon. 

There will be two events taking place simultaneously on the European Tour this week, as the Golf in Dubai Championship plays out at Jumeirah Golf Estates, whilst the South African Open takes us to the Gary Player Golf Course in Sun City. On the PGA Tour, the Mayakoba Golf Classic begins on Thursday and will also play out across the weekend, whilst the LPGA Tour concerns itself with the Volunteers of America Classic.

Two unmissable clashes headline this weekend’s NFL action, as the Tennessee Titans do battle with the Cleveland Browns, before the Arizona Cardinals play host to the Los Angeles Rams at State Farm Stadium. You won’t want to miss Saturday’s NCAA College Football matchup which pits Wisconsin against Indiana. 

Boxing fans will be gearing up for another huge week of action, with two titanic fights topping the bill this week. On Wednesday, James Dickens will enter the ring with Ryan Walsh as the pair compete for the WBO European Featherweight Title. Meanwhile, there is an all-British bout in the light heavyweight division on Friday as unbeaten Lyndon Arthur takes on the highly revered Anthony Yarde.

Pool’s answer to the Ryder Cup gets underway on Tuesday, as Team Europe takes on Team USA in the Mosconi Cup from Tuesday to Friday. 

In Rugby Union, Saturday sees Ireland face Soctland for third place and Wales take on Italy for fifth place in the Autumn Nations Cup. Also on Saturday, he Rugby Championship concludes with Australia facing Argentina and the Lions and Western Province will thrash it out at Ellis Park Stadium in the Currie Cup. Meanwhile, Māori All Blacks will go up against Moana Pasifika in an International Test Match at FMG Stadium Waikato.

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

Fixture

Photos by West Ham United, Atlético de Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Blackcaps, England Cricket, Errol Spence Jr and England Rugby

Written and information correct on 29th November at 9pm GMT

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