This Week In Sport: 7th – 13th September 2020

Another pulsating seven days of sport are in the pipeline. In the NBA and NHL there’s now little margin for error as we reach the business end of the playoffs, while in the NFL and Premier League, it’s fresh starts all round as the new seasons kick off. Liverpool get their Premier League title defence underway against a Leeds side making their long-awaited top flight return, while the reigning Super Bowl Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, kick off their campaign against the Houston Texans. The packed cricketing schedule shows no signs of letting up as England and Australia’s ODI series commences. And the Tour Championship and US Open reach their hotly-anticipated climaxes, with a less conventional name set to get their hands on one of tennis’ most illustrious prizes come Sunday.

Monday 7th September 3:30PM GMT - Golf: PGA Tour Championship

The PGA Tour Championship reaches its climax with the final round of play at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta on Monday 7th September. 

It’s the final round of the final PGA Tour event of the season on Monday, with world number one Dustin Johnson in the driving seat following a stunning third round performance.

The American hit seven birdies to give himself a comfortable five-shot lead and close in on FedEx Cup glory.

Compatriots Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas are tied in second on 14 under, and John Rahm is a further shot behind.

Can anyone catch Johnson? Or will the 36-year-old claim his maiden FedEx Cup crown and pocket the lucrative $15 million prize pot?

Tuesday 8th September (1:00AM GMT Wednesday 9th) - Basketball: Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets

The Los Angeles Lakers face the Houston Rockets on Tuesday 8th September at AdventHealth Arena, Orlando in their 3rd game of the NBA playoff series.

The Conference Semifinals continue in Orlando with the 3rd game in a potential seven-match series between the Lakers and the Rockets.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference to breeze into the playoffs, before dispatching the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round in five games.

Meanwhile, the Rockets qualified for the playoffs after a fourth-place finish, but required the full seven games to book their place in the Semifinals following a 4-3 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

However, it was first blood to the Rockets after they recorded a comprehensive 112-97 victory over the Lakers in the opening game of the series. With a place in the Western Conference final tantalisingly close, the playoffs are really starting to hot up.

Wednesday 9th September (00:00 GMT Thursday 10th) - Ice Hockey: New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning

The New York Islanders play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday 9th September at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

The New York Islanders booked their place in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1993 with a 4-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to earn themselves a narrow 4-3 series victory.

Meanwhile opponents Tampa Bay Lightning recovered emphatically from defeat in their opening match against the Boston Bruins. Andrei Vasilevski was outstanding in goal as the Lightning won their next four to eliminate the 2019/20 Presidents’ Trophy winners in five games.

Wednesday’s clash is the second of potentially seven breathless fixtures if the contest goes the distance. With a shot at Stanley Cup glory within touching distance, there’s everything to play for in Edmonton.

Thursday 10th September (12:20AM GMT Friday 11th) - American Football: Kansas City Chiefs v Houston Texans

The NFL season kicks off on Thursday 10th September as the Kansas City Chiefs welcome the Houston Texans to the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas.

The biggest league in world sport makes its hotly anticipated return, with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, beginning the defence of their title against the Houston Texans.

The Chiefs go into the season as Super Bowl champions for the first time in half a century following their victory over the San Francisco 49ers in February’s showpiece event.

Houston and Kansas produced two memorable matches last season, the Texans running out 31-24 winners at the Arrowhead Stadium in October, before the Chiefs secured a 51-31 victory in the playoffs despite falling 24 points behind in the first quarter thanks to the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes.

Will history repeat itself or can the Texans avenge their painful playoff defeat?

Friday 11th September 12:00PM GMT - Cricket: England v Australia 

England faces Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester for the first ODI between the two sides on Friday 11th September at 12:00PM GMT.

After England emerged victorious from last week’s T20 series with Australia thanks to a Jos Butler batting masterclass, attentions switch to the one-day format. 

The 1st ODI in the three-match series gets underway on Friday, with Australia searching for an ODI series win over England for the first time since 2015. 

The series is part of the inaugural ICC Cricket World Cup Super League. England have already beaten Ireland as part of the format, but September’s series is Australia’s debut outing in the competition.

The hosts will have fond memories from the last ODI meeting between the pair; England secured an eight-wicket victory in the World Cup Semifinals en route to being crowned world champions on home soil.

A compelling day of action is in store as two great cricketing rivals lock horns in Manchester.

Saturday 12th September 4:30PM GMT - Football: Liverpool v Leeds

Liverpool begin their Premier League title defence with the visit of newly-promoted Leeds to Anfield on Saturday 12th September at 4:30PM GMT.

Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for a top flight title in style during the 2019/20 campaign. The Reds were crowned champions of England at a canter, sending Premier League records tumbling in the process. Jurgen Klopp’s side go about doing it all over again on Saturday as the English top flight returns - just 48 days after the curtain came down on the 2019/20 season.

Liverpool face a Leeds side who ended a success drought of their own last term, topping the Championship to seal their return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence. 

While Liverpool have much the same squad from their title-winning campaign - with Kostas Tsimikas their only new addition thus far - Leeds have broken their transfer record to bring in forward Rodrigo in preparation for life in the top flight. 

The Premier League fixture list has served up a blockbuster clash for the season’s opening weekend as two of English football’s biggest clubs go head to head.

Sunday 13th September 3:00PM GMT - Tennis: US Open

The US Open comes to an end at the UTSA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, headlined by the men’s singles Final on Sunday 13th September.

It’s the 14th and final day of action at the US Open with the penultimate Grand Slam of the year up for grabs.

The fortnight has already served up a collection of thrills, spills and top class tennis. The highly seeded Gregor Dimitrov, Milos Raunic and John Isner all suffered early exits, before world number one Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth-round match with Pablo Carreno Busta for accidentally hitting a ball at a line judge.

The Serb had been the heavy favourite to claim a fourth US Open title, but his disqualification coupled with the absence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has blown the competition wide open. 

Djokovic was the last major winner remaining in the draw, meaning one man will be collecting their maiden Grand Slam title come Sunday evening. Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and David Goffin will be among the favourites, but the wonderful unpredictability of this year’s US Open means it’s too tough to call.

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions from around the globe begin with the NHL playoffs. The Vegas Golden Knights play the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning face the New York Islanders, with Stanley Cup success now tantalisingly close for all four sides.

Further playoff action comes from the NBA, with fixtures taking place across the week in Orlando. The Boston Celtics face the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Clippers play the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Houston Rockets.

Elsewhere in the States, the US Open enters its second week. The Women’s singles final takes place on Saturday, and there are a selection of wheelchair and doubles finals across the weekend.

In MLB, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros meet in an exciting series at Dodger Stadium.

There’s a flurry of NFL fixtures on Sunday as the new season gets underway, including the Minnesota Vikings versus the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Two footballing giants lock horns in the Nations League on Monday as the Netherlands host Italy. The following day sees Denmark take on England and Belgium play Iceland. In the Premier League, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti get their first full seasons in charge at Tottenham and Everton underway, and meet on the opening weekend of the top flight campaign at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Top class PDC Darts action comes from Germany, where the Autumn Series gets underway on Saturday.

The third and final T20 between England and Australia takes place in Southampton on Tuesday, with England already having wrapped up the series. There’s more T20 on display across the UK over the course of the week in the shape of the T20 Blast. Also the Caribbean Premier League reaches its conclusion this week.

Further sporting action in the UK comes from Ashton Gate, where Bristol Bears welcome Northampton Saints in the Premiership on Tuesday, before Gloucester travel to Exeter on Wednesday. Bristol are in action again on Sunday as they face Wasps, while Sale Sharks play Bath.

Meanwhile in the Super League, Castleford Tigers face Warrington Wolves on Thursday, before Catalans Dragons take on Wigan Warriors on Saturday. Castleford are then in Challenge Cup action on Sunday as they face Hull.

The Tour de France continues, with the peloton beginning the week in Charente-Maritime and finishing it in Grand Colombier following six gruelling stages.

It’s fifth versus sixth in the AFL on Thursday as West Coast Eagles play St Kilda, before rivals Geelong and Richmond meet on Friday. GWS Giants face Melbourne on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Australia, the Panthers take on the Eels and the Sharks play the Warriors in the NRL.

In Women’s Golf, there is a major this week with the ANA Inspiration taking place at the Mission Hills Country Club in California. Also the European Tour stops off in Quarteira for the Portugal Masters. Play begins in both events on Thursday and concludes on Sunday.

The Formula One Tuscan Grand Prix takes place on Sunday, as does the San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Grand Prix in Moto GP.

And finally the September Tournament gets underway in Tokyo on Sunday, the penultimate Sumo tournament of the year.

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

Fixture

Photos by Dustin Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Kansas City Chiefs, England Cricket, Liverpool Football Club, Alexander Zverev

Written and information correct on Sunday 6th September at 11pm.

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