Work may stop over Christmas, but sport most definitely does not. So settle in and keep yourself occupied over the next week
This week on Sky Sports and BT Sport
The big day has come and gone, you’ve exhausted every last Christmas catch-up and diving in for an umpteenth caramel keg seems as appealing as that impending commute back to work.
Welcome to what we’re labelling the “Festive Nether Region” – a once-aimless seven days of pure nothingness bookended by Christmas Day and New Year.
Yeah, you read that right: once-aimless. A quick glance at this season’s sporting schedule suggests that is no longer the case. An Old Firm derby, a top-scoring Premier League clash, a crucial week in the NFL season and a quite literal Big Game as Harlequins host Wasps at Twickenham await you.
And if you can wait and not be tired by waiting (cheers, Rudyard), take heed of these tips to maximise your Nether viewing pleasure…
San Antonio Spurs @ Denver Nuggets, Saturday 29 December, 2am, Sky Sports Action/HD (CH 517/507)
All hail television. This pair tip-off twice in three days which, to the most committed of the Nuggets Nation, would result in a 1900-mile, 30-hour round-trip. Thankfully, you can catch the somewhat surprise Conference leaders from the comfort of your own sofa.
Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday 29 December, 10pm, Sky Sports Action/HD (CH 517/507)
Rangers v Celtic, Saturday 29 December, 11.30am, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Tired? A little lethargic? Struggling to get into second gear? You need the Old Firm to spark you into life. For the first time since their SPL expulsion in 2012, Rangers have returned to mount a genuine title challenge, which could hinge on games against their bitter rivals. For an added taste of derby flavour, Hearts take on Hibs at the capital’s Easter Road.
Hibernian v Hearts, Saturday 29 December, 5pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Liverpool v Arsenal, Saturday 29 December, 5pm, BT Sport 1 HD/BT Sport 4K UHD (CH 527/531)
All it needed was one North London derby for people to take Unai Emery’s new-look Arsenal seriously. Pretty much the same script here: the Gunners need to maintain their chase for top four status while Liverpool simply can’t afford to lose ground on leaders Manchester City. With 24 goals in their last five Anfield encounters, expect it to be an enjoyably open affair.
NFL Red Zone, Sunday 30 December, 6pm, Sky Sports Mix/HD (CH 520/510)
After 16 gruelling games (did you know the average NFL contest lasts approximately three hours?) one final bid at Super Bowl glory starts here. The expected suspects – Pats, Saints, Rams and Texans – are where they should be, but wildcard spots are still up for grabs for those with a positive playbook. The Seahawks and Vikings close out the regular season in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
PDC World Darts Championship
PDC World Championship final, Tuesday 1 December, 8pm, Sky Sports Main Event/HD (CH 511/501)
A whopping 96 competitors over a record 28 sessions and 20 days have been whittled down to two. We don’t know who they are yet (probably one of MVG, Rob Cross, Gary Anderson and a possible surprise package), but we can guarantee Ally Pally’s roof will be rocking as the Hearns revel in another night of lucrative glory.
Australia v India, from Friday 28 December, 11.15pm, BT Sport 1 HD (CH 527)
Anyone who’s been south of the equator for Christmas will know Santa is not made for summer. Still, he’ll no doubt be out in sun cream-slathered force to witness the final two days of a potentially series-defining Third Test at the respective CGs of M and S. Get those flamin’ roasties on the barbie.
Gallagher Premiership Rugby
Harlequins v Wasps, Saturday 29 December, 3.30pm, BT Sport 2 HD
Every year, Quins swap Stoop for Stadium in a one-off Big Game with a bumper crowd. Their 11th annual outing welcomes an old foe in the form of a Wasps outfit considered favourites. But with an unpredictable home side capable of an upset (they inflicted Exeter’s first loss of the campaign last month), don’t be surprised to see a repeat of the closely fought contest (Wasps nicked it by a point) in 2009. Elsewhere, Manu Tuilagi returns to halt a terrible run of form for the Tigers at Bath.
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs, Friday 28 December, 7pm, BT Sport 1 HD/BT Sport 4K UHD (CH 527/531)
Bath Rugby v Leicester Tigers, Sunday 30 December, 2.30pm, BT Sport 1 HD/BT Sport 4K UHD (CH 527/531)
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