This week sees the F.A Cup first round replays get decided to ensure several minnow clubs the opportunity of a higher staked clash against superior placed league teams.
Wednesday evening offers the delights of International friendlies. Roy Hodgson’s second, maybe third-choice eleven will travel to Sweden as a pre-cursor to their next World Cup qualifying match at the end of March! Due to the intensity of fixtures over this coming period and the magnitude of critical Premier League and UEFA Champions League clashes that some of the top sides invariably find themselves taking part in, it’s no surprise that many of Hodgson’s immediate selections have been deemed “unfit” by their respective club managers and are unable to travel to Stockholm.
Thursday sees the first day of test action between India and England. England’s preparations for the end of year contest have been turbulent at best, with unrest still an over-hanging feature since Pieterson’s text-gate matter.
World number six Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek will spearhead the Czech team on Friday when they take on Davis Cup holders Spain in this year’s final in Prague. Spain, without their talisman, Rafael Nadal, will have David Ferrer leading the line in their bid to claim their fourth Davis Cup title in five years. Friday also heralds the practise and qualifying process for Sunday’s United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Saturday returns us to the business end of football matters. The Premier League offers an early London derby to kick proceedings off with Arsenal welcoming Spurs to The Emirates. Liverpool take on the lively Wigan in a significant mid-table clash and West Brom play host to Chelsea at The Hawthorns where they will be hoping to attempt to solidify their unfamiliar lofty position in the league in the knowledge that The Blues will have one eye on their Tuesday night Champions League fixture against Juventus and La Liga’s giants Barcelona and Real Madrid both participate in evening clashes with Zaragoza and Bilbao respectively.
Sunday sees further EPL action with Fulham taking on Martin O’Neil’s misfiring Sunderland side and the week is rounded off with an evening Formula 1 race just to keep the excitement levels at a high till the end.