Weekend Sports Preview : Derby Day and Big Weekend for France
- Various venues around Europe
- March 7-8
- Live on Sky Sports, BBC and ITV
Weekend Sports Preview
Another exciting sporting weekend lies ahead of us, especially if you live in Manchester or are a rugby union fan. As we count down the days to the Cheltenham Festival which begins on Tuesday 10 March, our preview looks ahead to the top sporting events taking place this weekend.
Saturday 7 March: Six Nations - England v Wales (4.45pm)
With leaders France not playing until Sunday, these two teams bid to put some pressure on the French side. England are second in the table but Wales are down in fourth. England got off to a poor start when losing away to France, though perhaps that result doesn't look as bad as it looked on the day. Since then, they have beaten Scotland to regain the Calcutta Cup and then had a 24-12 home victory over Ireland.
They are four points behind leaders France with two games remaining. A win against Wales on Saturday won't just help their title hopes but also clinch the Triple Crown, their first since 2016. Anthony Watson and Mark Wilson are back in England's starting line-up. They will be making thei first appearances since last year's Rugby World Cup. Mako Vinopula will be absent though, having been left out of the squad as a precaution because of the Coronavirus situation.
Wales are the defending champions but that crown looks to be lost already. They began with an easy home win over Italy without conceding a point. Since then though, they have lost away in Ireland and then losing by four points at home to France. Another loss here could see them battling it out with Scotland to avoid finishing in fifth place. New coach Wayne Pivac won't want to see his side lose a third match in a row but winning at Twickenham is never an easy task.
The Welsh side sees the return of Liam Williams who hasn't played for them since being injured in the World Cup. Dan Biggar has been declared fit but Gareth Davies and Taulupe Faletau have both been left out of the starting line-up. England have the home advantage and confidence from those two recent wins, the Triple Crown looks on its way to Twickenham with England winning on a -8 points handicap bet.
Sunday 8 March: Six Nations - Scotland v France (3pm)
Not since 2010 have France won the Six Nations tournament. Recent years haven't been that good for them and this is the first time since 2017 that they have won three matches. Their new coaching team has certainly come up trumps this year with wins over England and Italy at home and away in Wales. Their final two games are this trip to Muirfield and then a home game against Ireland. They are looking to claim their first Grand Slam since that 2010 triumph and only their fourth since Italy were added to the fray.
France won't find it easy up against a Scottish side that has the best defensive record this year. They have only conceded 32 points in their three games (including a shut out away in Italy), though on the flip side, only 35 points have been scored. The Scots have won their last two home Six Nations matches against France and a win on Sunday would take them to 2-2 for this year's championship after losses to Ireland and England. France will do their best to make their opponents make as many mistakes as possible, something Scotland can often manage all by themselves. France should be backed to get win number four in this year's championship.
Sunday 8 March: Premier League - Manchester United v Manchester City (4.30pm)
Manchester United have Thursday's FA Cup tie against Derby County to negotiate first before the fourth Manchester derby of the season on Sunday. United's bid to secure European football next season continues but could they still make it into the Champions League? They start the weekend in fifth place, just three points behind Chelsea in fourth. United are unbeaten in their last four league games but two have been drawn. That's nine in the Premier League this season, only four teams have drawn more.
They have won two of their last three games against City. United won away in the Premier League and then were successful in the second leg of their losing Carabao Cup semi-final. Strangely, United have a good record when playing City away but have no home league victory over them since 2015. Home wins are going to be important for United, mainly due to the fact they only have four away league wins all season. They have a new hero in Bruno Fernandes and fans will be hoping his scoring run will continue in this game.
Manchester City won the Carabao Cup last weekend and then reached the quarter finals of the FA Cup. With one foot in the last eight of the Champions League, City could still have a very successful season. Their last five league and cup games have all been won with three clean sheets in their last four league matches. With key players in good form and four straight league wins at Old Trafford, City can be backed to win on Sunday.
- Manchester United have won two of their last three games against Manchester City.
- Both teams have scored in five of the last seven games between United and City.
- Only two of the last seven Manchester derby matches have had under 2.5 goals scored in them.
- England haven't lost to Wales at Twickenham since 2015.
- The last five Six Nations matches between England and Wales have all been won by single figure margins.
- Since 2006, only once has the Six Nations match between England and Wales had less than 30 points scored in the game.
- The last four games between Scotland and France in the Six Nations have been shared.
- Scotland have won their last two home Six Nations games played against France.