Here we go, another weekend is upon us and we are somehow already in February. The dust has barely settled from last week, when we were privileged to see one of the greatest ever Grand Slam finals; between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
We were then treated to a full Premier League fixture list during the week, which undoubtedly makes a cold Tuesday night more fun. Now, we switch our attentions to this weekend, and run through all of the sport taking place.
Could it be over?
Chelsea may have only picked up a point in the week, but with all of their rivals dropping points, they were able to extend their lead at the top to nine points.
The first game of the weekend sees the league leaders host Arsenal and a win could all but wrap up the title – even at this early stage. Victory would put Antonio Conte's side 12 points clear with 14 games remaining, and put one hand on the trophy. Arsenal suffered a shock defeat to Watford midweek and must respond with a win if they are to maintain any hope of winning the league.
The same can be said for Liverpool, after they went the whole of January without winning a Premier League game. Their match against Hull City perhaps shouldn't be seen as a banker either; the Tigers have been rejuvenated since the appointment of Marco Silva and picked up a priceless point at Old Trafford midweek and believe they can save themselves from relegation.
The other two teams in the relegation zone – Crystal Palace and Sunderland – face one another on Saturday afternoon. Both picked up positive results in the week, with Palace beating Bournemouth and Sunderland gaining an unlikely point against Spurs.
The two teams hovering just above the relegation zone are faced with tough matches on Sunday. Swansea travel to Manchester City off the back of two successive wins, which have justified their decision to replace Bob Bradley with Paul Clement as head coach.
Champions Leicester City would not have been expecting to see themselves in a relegation fight this season, but could find themselves in the relegation zone come kick-off against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. Could the champions actually be relegated?
Six Nations Starts
The eagerly anticipated 2017 RBS Six Nations kicks off this weekend with three great matches! The opening match of the tournament sees Scotland host Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon. After last year's fourth placed finish, the Scots are hoping for a top-three finish this time around and could cause an early upset. Ireland will have to make do without Johnny Sexton, but do have a more than able deputy in Paddy Jackson.
England begin their Grand Slam title defence with the visit of France to Twickenham on Saturday evening. Eddie Jones' side go into the tournament as hot favourites after a 13-match winning run stretching back to last year. They will have to do without much of their frontline pack, but will still be confident of overcoming a French side that continue to be plagued with inconsistency in performances.
The final match of the opening weekend sees Italy take on Wales at the Stadio Olimpico. Wales will be looking at the game as a straight-forward victory to start their campaign, but as the Italians have shown in past tournaments, they are no walkover on their own patch.
Davis Cup Starts
Great Britain take on Canada in the first round of the Davis Cup this weekend, but will have to do without Andy Murray. The world number one is being allowed to sit out the tie to have some rest time following his disappointing Australian Open.
With world number three Milos Raonic missing for Canada, the first rubber will see Dan Evans play 17-year-old Denis Shapovalov. The second rubber will be between Kyle Edmund and Vasek Pospisil, before Jamie Murray and Dom Inglot take on Daniel Nestor and Pospisil in the doubles.
Date Posted: Friday 3rd February 2017
Author: George Crewe