In last weekend’s derbies, Wayne Rooney’s penalty earned Everton a point at Liverpool. Manchester City (streets ahead) beat lack-lustre rivals United 2-1 at Old Trafford to set a new Premiership record of 14 successive wins at start of a season and also end the Reds’ 40-match unbeaten home run. And West Ham pipped champions Chelsea 1-0 to give David Moyes his first win as manager.
Elsewhere, Tottenham walloped Stoke 5-1, becoming the first team in top flight football to beat their opponents by four or more goals in four successive meetings: 4-0, 4-0, 4-0 and 5-1. There were also wins for Burnley, Huddersfield, Swansea and Leicester who ruined Newcastle 125th birthday party on Tyneside; Jermain Defoe’s 200th career League goal helped Bournemouth draw 2-2 at Crystal Palace for whom Christian Benteke ‘fluffed’ a late penalty and Arsenal drew 1-1 at Southampton. Olivier Giroud’s late equaliser for the Gunners, puts him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for most PL goals scored by a substitute.
Wolves, Cardiff and Bristol City stand 1-2-3 in the Championship; Birmingham are third from bottom, having scored only ten goals in 21 League games, the fewest of all 92 clubs. Wigan and Luton top Leagues 1 and 2 and SPL leaders Celtic are unbeaten in 68 domestic matches after drawing 2-2 at Hibernian. In La Liga, Cristiano Ronaldo’s netted twice in Real Madrid’s 5-0 romp against Sevilla and Lionel Messi scored in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Villarreal.
Earlier this week, the 10 PL games included Huddersfield-Chelsea, Liverpool-WBA, Manchester United-Bournemouth, Swansea-Manchester City, Newcastle-Everton, Spurs-Brighton and West Ham-Arsenal, and over the weekend we have Arsenal-Newcastle, Bournemouth-Liverpool, Chelsea-Southampton, Manchester City-Spurs and WBA-Manchester United. In the Championship, it’s Bristol City-Nottingham Forest, Cardiff-Hull and Derby-Aston Villa, plus Sheffield Wednesday-Wolves (tonight); Wimbledon-Wigan and Shrewsbury-Blackpool in FL1; Forest Green Rovers-Luton and Notts County-Grimsby in FL2 and Hearts-Celtic in the SPL.
In Spain, Barcelona play Deportivo and Eibar meet Valencia. The Leganes-Real Madrid game has been postponed.
And in the last 16 of the Champions League, it’s Bayern Munich-Besiktas, Chelsea-Barcelona, Liverpool-Porto, Manchester City-Basel, Manchester United-Sevilla, Real Madrid-PSG, Shahktar Donestk-Roma and Spurs-Juventus; in the Europa League last 32 it’s Arsenal-Ostersunds and Celtic-Zenit SP.
Last Saturday, James DeGale lost his IBF World super-middleweight crown to American Caleb Truax while Lee Selby defeated Eduardo Ramirez to win IBF world featherweight title. In New York, Belfast featherweight Michael Conlon made it five straight wins by beating Luis Fernando.
In Rugby Union’s European Champions Cup, Aviva PL leaders Exeter lost 18-8 to Leinster and Saracens crashed to their heaviest-ever European defeat, losing 46-14 against Clermont. And Welsh captain Sam Warburton will miss the Six Nations tournament through injury.
England’s cricketers, two-nil down in the Ashes Series, are playing the Australians right now in the third Test at the WACA in Perth. Still without Ben Stokes, another Ben, Northants batsman Duckett, has been suspended by the ECB for throwing his drink over Jimmy Anderson!
Ronnie O’Sullivan is the UK snooker champion for the sixth time (out of seven), equalling Steve Davis’s competition record. The ‘Rocket’ beat Shaun Murphy 10 frames to five in last Sunday’s final at York’s Barbican.
Ex-World number one Serena Williams, who gave birth to a daughter in September, will compete in the first tennis Grand Slam of 2018 in Australia.
Retired cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has had his first gruelling taste at rowing!
The William Hill World Darts Championships started yesterday with the retiring Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor strongly.
And this Sunday, live on BBC TV from Liverpool, the Sports Personality of the Year will be announced. It’s Lewis Hamilton for me.