As we approach the middle of January, it seems as if normality has set back in after the hectic nature of the festive period. It's the same with the sporting schedule, too. After getting used to sport being on everyday over Christmas, it takes some getting used to as it returns to its regular pattern.
Looking ahead, there is plenty to look forward to over the coming months in 2017, starting with this weekend. So, if you're doing Dry January and staying in, there's plenty to keep an eye on.
The Premier League took a back seat last weekend as we enjoyed the Third Round of the FA Cup – one of the standout weekends in the football calendar. But, this weekend it's back to the business of the Premier League, where the hotly contested battle for the league looks set to take another intriguing turn.
First up, Spurs host West Brom in the Saturday lunchtime game. Mauricio Pochettino's side will be looking to build on their victory over Chelsea in their last league game, and a win over the Baggies would see them move up to second. West Brom shouldn't be underestimated though, Tony Pulis' side sit in eighth after a strong first-half of the campaign.
Arsenal will be aiming to move back into the top four as they face a trip to Swansea. The Gunners trail league leaders Chelsea by eight-points, so nothing other than a win will do if they are to harbour any title ambitions.
Chelsea's 13-match winning run came to an abrupt end last time out, and Antonio Conte will hope that defeat to Spurs was just a blip. They face a tricky looking trip to the King Power against the champions Leicester City on Saturday evening. The Foxes have been disappointing in their title defence, but have found some of last season's form lately; winning two of their last three.
Sunday sees two fascinating fixtures, which give you reason to stay on the sofa all afternoon! First up, Everton host Man City at Goodison Park. Pep Guardiola's side go into the game full of confidence after battering West Ham 5-0 in their FA Cup clash last week, whereas Everton suffered a disappointing exit at the hands of Leicester.
Then, it's the big one – Man United take on Liverpool! This is a fixture that is always a classic due to the fierce rivalry between the two clubs, but with so much to play for, this match takes on extra significance. United are on a nine-match winning run and know that a win would put them within touching distance of Liverpool and bring them back into the title race!
England get their one-day international series under way this weekend against India. After suffering a heavy 4-0 defeat in the Test series, England will be hoping to restore some pride back in the shorter format of the game.
England have experienced mixed fortunes in their warm-up matches; after defeating an India A XI earlier in the week they were heavily beaten by a different India A side yesterday.
The biggest concern for England is the top-order batting line up, going into Sunday's game. Joe Root hasn't played in any of the warm-up games due to the birth of his son, and captain Eoin Morgan has only made three runs in two innings. The skipper is under more scrutiny than ever after missing the Bangladesh tour due to security concerns.
England will be hoping they can pull together and rediscover the form that saw the one-day side enjoy a strong 2016!
Image credits: Sky Sports, England Cricket, Goal
Date Posted: Friday 13th January 2017
Author: George Crewe