Football extravaganza, India vs England, ATP Finals: What sports fans should be excited for this weekend - Firstpost
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Football extravaganza, India vs England, ATP Finals: What sports fans should be excited for this weekend


If you aren't heading to the Coldplay feat. everyone in Bollywood concert in Mumbai on 19 November, worry not! It's yet another blockbuster weekend in the world of sports, and there's plenty of football, cricket and tennis to keep you glued in front of your television sets. The football international break is finally over (hallelujah!) and league football is back. The top four leagues in Europe all boast mouth-watering clashes. In tennis, the race for the year-end World No 1 ranking may just go down to the last ATP match of the 2016 season while for Indian cricket fans, the Vizag Test may make for happy watching.

Here's a look at all the sporting action that you can catch over the next couple of days.

Manchester United vs Arsenal

David de Gea saves a close range shot from Nacho Monreal during their clash last season, which Manchester United eventually won 3-2. AFP

David de Gea saves a close range shot from Nacho Monreal during their clash last season, which Manchester United won 3-2. AFP

Arsene Wenger has probably never had a better chance of finally beating a Jose Mourinho side than when Arsenal visit Old Trafford on Saturday to face a Manchester United team in underwhelming form and ravaged by injuries and suspensions. Along with Wayne Ronney, Mourinho is without suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and center backs Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling. Also, there are serious doubts over the fitness of midfielder Marouane Fellaini and full backs Luke Shaw and Antonio Valencia.

Wenger, meanwhile, will ask Alexis Sanchez for an honest assessment of his fitness after Arsenal's star forward sustained a hamstring injury while away with Chile. Sanchez missed a draw against Colombia but returned for the 3-1 win over Uruguay on Tuesday, although his right leg was heavily strapped for the match.

For once, Arsenal will be confident of winning on a ground where Wenger has often emerged an angry second best, most notably in 2011 when they were humiliated 8-2. The match will kick-off at 6 PM IST on 19 November and will be telecast on Star Select HD 1.

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo and teammates take part in a training session ahead of the Madrid derby. AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo and teammates take part in a training session ahead of the Madrid derby. AFP

In La Liga, all eyes will be on the Madrid Derby. Real Madrid will try to engineer a first league win over local rivals Atletico Madrid since 2013. Once the capital's dominant team, Real haven't beaten Atletico in six consecutive league derbies, although they have topped their cross-town rivals in two Champions League finals during that stretch. With Casemiro and Toni Kroos injured, Luka Modric is sure to be a key figure.

With usual talisman Cristiano Ronaldo enduring a slow start to the season, Modric has taken on even greater importance for Real, his status within the club reflected with the award of a new contract until 2020.

Atletico, meanwhile, are hoping star forward Antoine Griezmann will be fit after hurting his left foot while playing for France. Real lead the league and have a six-point advantage over fourth-place Atletico. You can watch this match live at 1:15 AM IST on Saturday night (or Sunday morning, depending on how you look at it) on Sony Six and Sony Six HD.

Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich

Dortmund's forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be one of the key players to watch out for in their clash against Bayern Munich. AFP

Dortmund's forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be one of the key players to watch out for in their clash against Bayern Munich. AFP

Robert Lewandowski began the season with a hat trick, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a brace. From round one, the two most prolific Bundesliga strikers have been seeking to outdo each other.

They will square off on Saturday, when Dortmund hosts Bayern in one of the highlight matches of the season that some are calling the Bundesliga "classico," borrowing its name from the Real Madrid-Barcelona showdowns in Spain.

The match provides many story lines: the return of defender Mats Hummels to Dortmund for the first time since his move to Bayern; the first match of Mario Goetze against Bayern since his return to Dortmund after three unremarkable seasons in Munich; Bayern's Renato Sanches possibly playing against Raphael Guerreiro, his teammate from Portugal's squad that won the European Championship in France this summer. Bayern lead the table with 24 points while Dortmund are at fifth place with 18 points. This much-anticipated fixture takes place at 11 PM IST on Saturday and will be shown on Star Sports Select HD 1.

AC Milan vs Inter Milan

Manager Stefano Pioli will make his debut on the Inter bench against AC Milan. AFP

Manager Stefano Pioli will make his debut on the Inter bench against AC Milan. AFP

AC Milan's revival and the debut of yet another coach at neighbours Inter should add much needed spice to a clash that has fallen out of the limelight in the last few seasons. The Milan derby used to be one of the world's great fixtures and a centre-piece of the Serie A season but the indifferent form of both teams have stripped it of its gloss. Recently, with neither side in the Champions League or in the running for the Serie A title, it has struggled to be billed as the top match of the weekend, let alone the season.

When the teams meet on Sunday, however, all eyes will be on San Siro. Milan, enjoying an unexpected revival under new coach Vincenzo Montella, are third in Serie A and five points behind leaders Juventus.

It is a very different story at Inter who are eight points behind their neighbours in ninth place after a miserable start which led to Dutchman Frank de Boer being fired after 85 days in charge. Replacement Stefano Pioli will make his debut on the Inter bench. The Milan derby is scheduled for 1:15 AM IST and you can catch it on Sony Six and Sony Six HD.

Indian Super League 2016 action

Mumbai City FC captain Diego Forlan in a training session with his teammates. ISL

Mumbai City FC captain Diego Forlan in a training session with his teammates. ISL

The battle for a semi-final spot in the third season of ISL will heat up over the weekend, with teams left with just three or four games to play. Due to very little separating all the clubs in the league table, each match is virtually a must-win. On Saturday, Mumbai City FC host Kerala Blasters at the Mumbai Football Arena. The hosts are determined not to fritter away chances like they did in their away previous drawn game against FC Goa. The Blasters would be equally keen to prevent Mumbai from scoring a victory ans earn three points themselves.

On Sunday, the fourth and fifth-placed teams, that is Atletico de Kolkata and Chennaiyin FC, will clash in Chennai for a very crucial three points. These weekend matches could well go on to decide which teams qualify for the knockouts. Both matches will start at 7 PM IST and will be broadcast on Star Sports 1, 2 and HD1, HD2.

Battle for ATP World No 1

The year-ending World No 1 ATP ranking will be decided this weekend between Andy Murray and Novak Djokoivc. Reuters

The year-ending World No 1 ATP ranking will be decided this weekend between Andy Murray and Novak Djokoivc. Reuters

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic could potentially meet in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals, a match that could decide who clinches the year-end World No 1 ranking. The season-ending championship in London is set for an exciting finish to top off a tumultuous season, especially on the men's side.

On Saturday, Djokovic will take on Kei Nishikori and Murray will be up against Milos Raonic in the last four. Along with the top spot, even the No 3 ranking is up for grabs between Raonic and Nishikori. If both Murray and Djokovic lose in the semi-finals, the Scot will clinch No. 1 spot. If both make the final, the winner will end the year as the ATP World No 1. The semi-finals are schedule for 7.30 PM and 1 AM IST on Saturday while the final will be held at 11.30 PM IST on Sunday. You can watch all these matches on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD.

India vs England

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Joe Root on the second day of Vizag Test. AP

Ravichandran Ashwin celebrates with teammates the dismissal of Joe Root on the second day of Vizag Test. AP

In the second Test at Vizag, England are in a deep hole at 103-5 and trailing India by 352 runs after two days. The visitors were reduced to 80-5 in the last session on Friday, as they came under severe pressure from the Indian spinners. Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow halted the rout over the last 15 overs to stumps, finishing unbeaten on 12 each.

After drawing the first Test in Rajkot, Indian captain Virat Kohli will be looking to earn their first victory of this five-match Test series. The match resumes on Saturday morning at 9.30 AM IST on Star Sports 1 and HD1.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published On : Nov 19, 2016 08:11 IST

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