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My sporting month: September 2010

With the Premier League in full swing, the Euro qualifying campaign getting under way, and both domestic and European cup competitions ramping up this month, you could be forgiven for thinking September is all about football, football and still more football, with a side serving of football.

But there is plenty of great sport on all across the world this month, so here are five of the big sporting events – both football and non-football – which I will be settling down into the armchair to watch over the next 30 days.

1. NFL regular season kick-off (9th-13th)

Defending champion New Orleans Saints host the Minnesota Vikings – for whom quarterback and future Hall of Famer Brett Favre returns for an incredible 20th season of football – in the Thursday night curtain-raiser on the 9th.

In terms of history and tradition, the highlight of the opening round is probably the Dallas Cowboys versus the Washington Redskins, but I will be watching out for the San Francisco 49ers, who visit division rival Seattle Seahawks looking to end a series of seven straight seasons in which they have failed to win the NFC West, the longest barren spell since their first Super Bowl season of 1981. Surely this year …?

2. UEFA Champions League Matchdays 1 & 2 (14th/15th & 28th/29th)

The most fiercely contested club competition in world football returns this month with the opening two matchdays of the group phase. The draw, conducted in Monaco last Thursday, pits three of the historic giants of European football – AC Milan, Real Madrid and Ajax – in the same group.

Matchday 1 sees Manchester United play Rangers at Old Trafford, with Arsenal hosting Braga and Chelsea and Tottenham travelling to MŠK Žilina and Werder Bremen respectively. But the two biggest ties of the first round will see Real Madrid play Ajax, while Bayern Munich welcome Roma.

The tie of the round in matchday 2 sees Ajax host AC Milan. Tasty stuff.

3. Premier League: Man Utd vs Liverpool (19th) and Man City vs Chelsea (25th)

After an opening weekend draw with Arsenal, this is Liverpool‘s second major test of the season as they attempt to regain a top-four spot with a visit to the home of their bitter rivals. Even in relatively poor seasons, Liverpool have often upset United and will be looking to do so again in what promises to be a ferocious and passionate match.

The following Saturday (the 25th), Man City host Chelsea in an intriguing showdown between the wealthiest club in football versus the team who used to hold that mantle. As the current Premier League champions, it is Chelsea who City have directly in their sights as they strive to turn hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into tangible results. It promises to be a fascinating match-up, and a genuine yardstick for City to measure their potential against.

4. AFL Grand Final (25th)

The vagaries of the Aussie Rules playoff system means that it takes three knockout rounds to whittle the eight qualifying teams down to the two finalists. (Don’t ask.) While my team, the West Coast Eagles, finished sixteenth and last on the league ladder Collingwood, coached by former Eagles’ head man Mick Malthouse, go into the finals series as the top-seeded club.

The Grand Final will take place at the MCG on Saturday 25th, but the knockout action begins this Friday. With the entire season at stake, expect a series of tough, no-hold-barred battles.

Lewis Hamilton en route to winning last year's Singapore GP (image courtesy of Nir Sinay)

5. Singapore Grand Prix (26th)

With the F1 drivers’ championship still too close to call – just three points separate Lewis Hamilton from second-placed Mark Webber after Sunday’s Belgian GP – the spectacular night race around the streets of Singapore heralds the end of the European season and the beginning of a long, five-race haul to the end of a season which looks like going right down to the final race in Abu Dhabi in November.

Will Hamilton extend his lead? Or can Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel or Fernando Alonso haul themselves back into contention?

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About Tim
Father of three. Bit of a geek. That's all, folks.

7 Responses to My sporting month: September 2010

  1. txtmstrjoe says:

    As a fellow 49ers fan, I’m quite excited about the team’s chances this year. Coach Mike Singletary has been a breath of fresh air, and it looks like Alex Smith has finally turned the corner.

    Go Niners!

    • Tim says:

      I like Singletary. No-nonsense approach, play tough defense and do what you’re good at on offense. It’s about time Smith started paying back the faith shown in him by the club – he has never really looked the overall number one pick he was coming out of college. At least we’re lucky enough to be in the weakest division in the league!

      • txtmstrjoe says:

        Yeah, Smith was a bad pick at #1 overall. But the Niners dug themselves that hole by getting rid of Jeff Garcia (hugely under-appreciated, in my opinion) in the first place, just to appease Terrell Owens.

        Coach Singletary is easily the most inspirational and charismatic head coach the 49ers have had since Mariucci (another questionable Niners decision to give him his walking papers). Dennis Erickson was borderline disastrous, and Mike Nolan seemed more concerned with projecting the image that he was the 49ers head coach than actually leading the team. Coach Singletary, though… you KNOW he’s the man calling the shots.

        You’re right, of course, by noting the Niners are lucky they’re in the pathetic NFC West. But hey, they have to start somewhere, right?

  2. aardvarkian says:

    What – no mention of the US Open at Flushing Meadows? Go Murray, go!

    • Tim says:

      Yep, Singletary coaches like he played – no-nonsense, take no prisoners. He’s exactly what the 49ers needed after a few years drifting in the wind. I remember the good old days when the NFC West was a properly tough division – when the Rams were a great team in their own right with Jim Everett and the Saints were just starting to become a force.

      Ah, I mentioned the US Open in my August preview, but should perhaps have mentioned it again here. Good, dominant win for Murray yesterday!

  3. ProtourBlogger says:

    Champions League should be exciting again, just like the the Premier League, La Liga and maybe Serie A and my guilty pleasure, the Bundesliga 🙂
    In many countries, handball leagues kick off in September as well, I like sport too (even if it’s not a major sport)!
    F1 should be exciting as well, the race is still almost wide open!

    • Tim says:

      It’s a big month, September. And of course we have the Cycling Worlds starting on the 29th, although I’ll probably only tune in for the men’s road race on October 3rd.

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