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My sporting month: December 2010

December is traditionally a relatively quiet month in the sporting calendar, with many sportspeople enjoying their off-season before 2011 kicks off with a vengeance. But there is nonetheless plenty of sports-related action taking place this month, including no shortage of drama in the Premier League, the Ashes series and the business end of the NFL regular season.

Here are five events to help while away the cold, dark nights over the holiday period.

1. Announcement of 2018 & 2022 World Cup finals hosts (2nd)

FIFA‘s torturous two-year process to determine who will host the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups will finally draw to a conclusion tomorrow at around 3pm UK time.

It is the 2018 tournament which UK-based fans will be most interested in, where England is competing against Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium for the right to host what would be the nation’s first World Cup in 52 years.

The process has been somewhat sullied by the incessant politicking and the bribes-for-votes scandal, but all that will be forgotten if England survive through to the final round of the ballot and 12 of the 22 remaining members of FIFA’s Executive Committee opt for our bid. If successful, the 7½-year countdown to a ‘home’ World Cup will begin in earnest.

2. Man Utd vs Arsenal (13th), Chelsea vs Man Utd (19th), Arsenal vs Chelsea (27th)

This month will see a fantastic triple-header as the Premier League’s top clubs play a three-team round-robin against each other on three consecutive weekends, with each team playing at home once and away once.

With just two points separating the teams after 15 games, this triumvirate of head-to-head fixtures will have a significant influence on the outcome of the title race. At the very least, it will provide plenty of fuel for debate in homes, pubs, offices and TV and radio studios up and down the country over the holiday period.

The Arsenal vs Chelsea game on the 27th will be the highlight of a busy Christmas schedule which sees two full rounds of league matched being played in the space of just four days between Boxing Day and the 29th.

3. BBC Sports Personality of the Year (19th)
This year’s annual televised bash will take place at Birmingham’s LG Arena, where the great and the good of British sport will assemble for an evening of jovial back-slapping and badly delivered one-liners. The shortlist of ten for the main SPotY award was published on Monday, with triple world champion gymnast Beth Tweddle conspicuous by her absence.

The bookies have already installed Tony McCoy as the short-odds favourite to succeed Ryan Giggs and become the first jockey ever to win the award.

4. NFL week 16 (23rd-27th)

The penultimate weekend of the NFL regular season takes place over Christmas, with several teams likely to be locked in a do-or-die scenario as far as playoff places and seedings are concerned.

Late in the evening on Christmas Day, the Dallas Cowboys visit the Arizona Cardinals, while the majority of teams will play on Boxing Day, with two major rivalries catching the eye. The San Francisco 49ers will look to continue their improbable tilt at the playoffs (at the time of writing they had won four of their last six after losing their first five) with a trip to play their long-standing division rivals, the St Louis Rams. Meanwhile the Baltimore Ravens, the team formed after the franchise upped sticks from Cleveland, will play the Browns team who took over their original name. Christmas cheer is likely to be in short supply in both match-ups.

5. Australia vs England, 4th Ashes Test (26th)

The traditional Boxing Day Test is scheduled to start shortly before midnight on Christmas Day UK time. The Ashes is unlikely to have been won before this match – only England can clinch the series before then – but it could certainly be decided here.

After England’s stirring fight back in Brisbane, scoring 517/1 in their second innings, the tourists will face the intervening two Tests in good heart. Should England finish this match ahead in the series, they will have retained the Ashes Down Under for the first time since 1987.

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

2 Responses to My sporting month: December 2010

  1. aardvarkian says:

    Roll on the 13th, Tim. Fancy a virtual flutter?

    • Tim says:

      I suspect we’ll lose at OT without Fabregas, but I think we’ll beat Chelsea at home. A win or two draws from the little mini-league suits me fine. Any less leaves us with a mountain to climb – or at least a relatively large mole-hill.

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