DIARY OF EVENTS
This weekend’s PL games include Aston Villa-Manchester United, Liverpool-Arsenal, Manchester City-Crystal Palace, the Tyne-Wear derby between Newcastle and Sunderland, a relegation battle involving QPR and WBA, plus Stoke against leaders Chelsea.
The top Championship matches are Derby-Norwich, Ipswich-Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest-Leeds. In FL1 it’s Crewe-Bristol City and Swindon-Doncaster while in FL2 Accrington play Wycombe and Luton meet Newport. North of the border, Celtic visit Dundee United.
The four quarter-final League Cup-ties earlier this week featured Derby-Chelsea and Sheffield United-Southampton on Tuesday, followed by Bournemouth-Liverpool and Spurs-Newcastle last night.
And for those who missed it, the stand-out ties in the third round of the FA Cup (to be played in early January) are Manchester City-Sheffield Wednesday, Blyth Spartans-Birmingham, Arsenal-Hull (a repeat of last season’s final), Chelsea-Watford, Dover-Crystal Palace, Sunderland-Leeds, Wimbledon-Liverpool, Yeovil/ Accrington Stanley-Manchester United and WBA-Gateshead.
Also, the draws were made on Monday for the first knockout round of the Champions League and Europa Cup competitions. In the former, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City, along with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid, were all in the hat, while in the latter Celtic, Everton and Spurs were representing GB.
FOOTBALL – Last weekend there were Premiership wins for Arsenal (4-1 v Newcastle), Burnley (1-0 v Southampton), Chelsea (2-0 v Hull – the Blues’ eighth on the bounce at home this term), Manchester City (1-0 at Leicester), Manchester United (3-0 v Liverpool), Spurs (2-1 at Swansea) and WBA (1-0 v Aston Villa). Everton played QPR on Monday.
Last Friday, only 13,950 fans saw Real Madrid extend their unbeaten run (in all competitions) to a record 20 games with a 4-1 away win over Almeria. And yes, Cristiano Ronaldo scored again, twice!
Barcelona could only draw 0-0 with Getafe, leaving Real four points clear at the top of La Liga.
CRICKET – England lost their ODI series in Sri Lanka. Having fought back to 3-2 after winning the fifth encounter, courtesy of Chris Woakes’ six wickets and Joe Root’s century, Alastair Cook’s team lost the sixth game by 90 runs, making the final match realistically a non-event.
And after leading his team to a 48-run first Test win over India, Australian captain Michael Clarke hinted his career may be over due to an irritating hamstring injury.
BOXING – Bolton’s Amir Khan retained his WBC Silver welterweight title with a unanimous points victory against American Devon Alexander in Las Vegas. Khan dominated the early rounds, the American offering very little until the eighth, when he managed to land a series of hooks. But Khan remained in charge, and the judges scored heavily in his favour.
Elsewhere, Andy Lee became the new WBO world middleweight champion.