Are we nearly there yet?
This week on Sky Sports
Why yes, yes we are. Chestnuts are ready to roast on a thermostatic, wall-hung fire, gourmet hipster corn be a poppin’, plant-based pigs are getting wrapped in ethically produced blankets and Noddy Holder’s wise words are no doubt ringing in your ears. All day. All night. Even in your sleep.
What you need is a break from the Christmas cringe in the form of two derby days – one in North London and the other in the East Midlands – as well as an NFL match-up everyone’s been waiting for, bucketloads of B-ball action in the NBA and the throwing of flighted arrows at Ally Pally.
As festive fortune would have it, Sky Sports has managed to condense all that into the space of the next seven days. It really is a Christmas miracle…
Manchester City v Everton, Saturday 15 December, 11.30am, and Southampton v Arsenal, Sunday 16 December, 12.30pm, Sky Sports Premier League/HD (CH 512/502)
So, Mr Silva, you think you can take points from the Etihad? With Everton one of only three teams to do just that last season, there is a genuine possibility that City’s flawless home record could be compromised. Meanwhile, Arsenal travel to Southampton in a game that will no doubt test the mettle of new Saints manager Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Sky Bet EFL Championship
Sheffield United v West Bromwich Albion, Friday 14 December, 7pm, and Bristol City v Norwich City, Saturday 15 December, 5.15pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Say what you will about Europe’s top five leagues, but the unpredictable, enthralling entertainment provided by England’s second tier is the reason it trumped La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 in recently released total attendance figures. Promotion-chasers Sheffield United and West Brom meet a day before pace-setters Norwich travel to Bristol City. Despite being roughly half a league apart, the Championship is so tight this season that both could realistically still go up.
Derby County v Nottingham Forest
Monday 17 December, 7pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
There ain’t no derby like an East Midlands derby. If previous meetings are anything to go by, tempers will most definitely flare in a match now fuelled by the dangling of that coveted Premier League carrot (and the Brian Clough Trophy, of course). Both teams are battling to stay in a play-off spot: Derby are gaining momentum under Frank Lampard, while Forest fans will feel they’re the closest they’ve been to a top-flight return since finishing sixth in 2010-11. Game on.
Carabao Cup: Quarter-final
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Wednesday 19 December, 7pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
St Totteringham’s Day (the day when Spurs could no longer catch Arsenal in the league) may be steadily becoming a thing of the past, but Spurs fans should still consider this: in clashes between the two on Arsenal turf over the past 30 years (that’s 33 games, to be exact), Tottenham have won just twice. But with both teams desperate for silverware, this should be nothing less than a fierce festive cup cracker.
Hibernian v Celtic
Sunday 16 December, 12pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Typical. Just when it looked like Celtic might relinquish their seven-season hold on the SPL title, a scintillating run of five consecutive wins (scoring 21 goals along the way) catapulted them back to the top of the table. Ex-boss Neil Lennon did take four points off his old employers at home last term, though, so there’s a better-than-decent chance of an upset at Easter Road.
PDC World Darts Championships
From Thursday 13 December, 7pm, Sky Sports Arena/HD (CH 518/508)
Remember when 27-year-old surprise package Rob Cross rocked up to rob Phil Taylor of his crowning glory at last year’s World Champs? With a record 96 participants including two women for the first time, this year’s “arrers” guarantees even more action at the oche in the form of flights and fancy dress. Altogether now… oi, oi, oi!
From Friday 14 December, Sky Sports Action/HD (CH 517/507)
Just when it looked like Carson Wentz was set to start a Super Bowl dynasty at the Eagles, along came fellow top 2016 draft pick Jared Goff to galvanise the Rams into becoming serious contenders. If the brilliant quarterback is to spiral the LA team into the period of NFL domination everyone predicts, this weekend will prove whether he’s got the minerals. In this week’s line-up of exciting NFL games, it’s the defending champs against the champions-elect that stands out – it could be the clash of the season.
Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs, Friday 14 December, 12.30am
Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams, Monday 17 December, 1.10am
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers, Tuesday 18 December, 1am
From Friday 14 December, Sky Sports Mix/HD (CH 510/520) and Sky Sports Action/HD (CH 517/507)
If the lure of LeBron tipping off with James Harden isn’t enough to entice you into the heavyweight battle between the Lakers and the Rockets, tune in for a potential repeat of the epic clash from when the two teams met earlier in the season. Elsewhere, the Pacers visit a 76ers outfit buoyed by the recent acquisition of Jimmy Butler, a team-in-transition Magic take on the defensively sound Jazz and a Joel Embiid-inspired Philly travel to a Cavs outfit lost without LeBron.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets, Friday 14 December, 1am, Sky Sports Mix
Indiana Pacers @ Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday 15 December, 12.30am, Sky Sports Action
Utah Jazz @ Orlando Magic, Saturday 15 December, 10pm, Sky Sports Mix
Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers, Sunday 16 December, 8.30pm, Sky Sports Arena – Red Button
New Zealand v Sri Lanka: First Test
From Friday 14 December, 9.55pm Sky Sports Cricket/HD (CH 514/504)
Cricket in the winter? Surely snow will stop play? Ah, but this is Wellington, where the wicket runs warm and the hosts just love to host. Sri Lanka’s last Antipodean visit ended in a whitewash defeat, just like their recent three-Test encounter with England, while the Black Caps are up to fourth in the Test rankings after a stellar year. Something’s got to give…
Find out what’s on Sky Sports this week
Keep up to speed with the latest games, players, athletes and action with our Sky Sports schedule. Collecting together all the latest sports coverage from across the channels, there’s something for every fan to celebrate on our homepage!
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