Editors' Picks: Heavyweights clash, Six Nations returns & Liverpool host City


Editors' Picks: Heavyweights clash, Six Nations returns & Liverpool host City

Klopp and Guardiola will contest one of their biggest clashes of the season
Klopp and Guardiola will contest one of their biggest clashes of the season AFP, Flashscore
There is no shortage of sport to watch on any weekend, or day even. But the question for obsessives like us at Flashscore is: What do you prioritise on a properly packed weekend? Well, here are our tips for what you simply cannot miss this time around.

Friday, March 8th

Anthony Joshua vs Francis Ngannou - 23:30 CET

Anthony Joshua (34) goes head to head with Francis Ngannou (37) in Saudi Arabia this Friday, in a bout touted as 'Knockout Chaos'. Former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua is still on the comeback trail after a pair of hugely damaging losses to Oleksandr Usyk and is now targeting his fourth win in a row that could put him back in contention for another world title bout.

There have been question marks over whether Joshua is still the same unabating force that he once was, but he will go into the ring on Friday as the favourite against a man who is appearing in the boxing ring for just the second time. But as previously seen, write Ngannou off at your peril.

'The Predator' made his boxing debut against the best heavyweight of this generation, Tyson Fury, back in October. Many expected Fury to have an easy night. Instead, the former UFC world champion scored a thunderous knockdown but was edged out on points - to the surprise of many who thought he had produced one of the greatest upsets in the history of combat sports. Ngannou holds the world record for the hardest punch, is unpredictable and unorthodox. Joshua cannot take this fight lightly, as Fury seemingly did.

Joshua has everything to lose - a defeat would be seismic and potentially spell the end of his quest to become world champion once more. On the flip side, as someone who is new to the boxing world, Ngannou has nothing to lose. He remains adamant that he is here to stay though, and a win against Joshua would go some way to proving that he is the real deal. It's sure to be a stunning night of boxing in Riyadh, with Joseph Parker taking on Zhilei Zhang on the undercard, which is sure to be another captivating fight. You do not want to miss this.

Read a full preview of the fight here.

Saturday, March 9th

England vs Ireland - 17:45 CET

The Six Nations may be a small tournament but it has no shortage of bitter and deep-seated rivalries. The feuds that exist between England and their Celtic neighbours surely top the list of those and none is quite so multifaceted as England versus Ireland. In political, historical, or sporting spheres  - there is simply no love lost between these two island tribes.

In a rugby context, England have been the stronger of the two nations since the first time they played back in 1875, winning 80 of 141 encounters (Ireland have won 53 with eight draws played out). However, the tables have turned in terms of supremacy recently. After losing four straight matches against England across 2019-20, Ireland have now won the last four meetings, including their last three in the Six Nations as well as the last time they met in England (2022).

Ireland are truly in the midst of one of their greatest chapters in rugby under the leadership of Englishman Andy Farrell. Last year, they completed a trifecta in the Six Nations: The title, the Triple Crown (beating the other ‘Home Nations’) and the Grand Slam (beating all five teams). Alas, they were not able to deliver at the Rugby World Cup later in the year, falling short at the quarter-final stage yet again after going in as the world’s top-ranked side. Ironically, England had an opposite tournament in France, entering it under clouds of discontent and poor form and coming away with an impressive third-place finish.

In the current edition of the Six Nations, Ireland are strong favourites to claim a consecutive title having won three from three and gaining a bonus point from each match. England, however, aren’t too far behind them with a 2-1 record. More than anything, a win at Twickenham for the hosts would make next week's final round more interesting. Even if no one looks like catching the Irish in the standings, taking a Grand Slam away from them is motivation enough for Steve Borthwick's competitive side.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - 18:00 CET

The opening race of the 2024 Formula 1 season in Bahrain suggested that we're in for another season of Red Bull domination, but since then, it's emerged that the reigning champions have entered something of a civil war, meaning that drama is all but guaranteed at round two in Saudi Arabia.

It has been widely reported in the press that the Austrian side of the company along with influential advisor Helmut Marko, chief technical officer Adrian Newey and Jos Verstappen - Max's father - want team principal Christian Horner gone, but Horner has the backing of the Thai majority shareholder, so won't be going anywhere any time soon. 

Thanks to the protection from the Thai side of the company, Horner survived an internal investigation sparked by accusations from a team employee, but messages and photos he apparently sent to said employee were then leaked to the entire paddock and Verstappen Senior told the media that the team would be 'torn apart' and 'explode' if Horner didn't leave.

That sparked talk that the younger Verstappen would leave Red Bull to join Mercedes should the team boss stay, talk only fueled by the fact that his father was spotted meeting with Toto Wolff in Bahrain. When Verstappen and the current Mercedes drivers were asked about those rumours, they all notably didn't rule out such a move.

What's more, Mohammed Ben Sulayem - the president of F1's governing body - is now being investigated for manipulating race results after a whistleblower reported him. That news broke shortly after it was claimed that he was supporting Horner and pushing Verstappen to do the same. Coincidence? Who knows...

All of this means that even if we get the dullest affair imaginable on track in Saudi Arabia - which is by no means a certainty - it will still be a fascinating race weekend nonetheless as we see how Formula 1, one of its biggest drivers and its best team navigate a scandalous fallout that seems to get bigger by the day.

Sunday, March 10th

Liverpool vs Manchester City - 16:45 CET

They don't come much bigger than this clash at Anfield, which could well go a long way to deciding who prevails in the Premier League's thrilling three-horse title race.

Liverpool will head into this match at the top of the table with Manchester City and Arsenal one and two points behind respectively. A win for them would give them some precious breathing room, and given that they will have gotten both of their clashes with their title rivals out of the way, they'd head into the final stretch of Jurgen Klopp's last season in charge excellently positioned to give him the perfect parting gift, a second league title.

For City meanwhile, a win would see them take top spot for the first time since November while a failure to claim all three points would most likely see them fall down to third, either two or four points off first heading into tough games with the other two members of the top four, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

This won't be the first time that Klopp and Pep Guardiola face off in a season-defining clash, and the two have produced some absolute thrillers when doing so in the past with drama and goals aplenty. In fact, of the 21 matches that the two coaches have contested in charge of their respective sides, only 10 of them have featured fewer than four goals. 

City will perhaps be favourites given that Liverpool have some injury problems, but with Klopp boasting a superior head-to-head record over his counterpart and his team enjoying home advantage, there's really no telling how this will pan out. In a phrase, this could be the game of the season.


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Les jeux d’argent et de hasard peuvent être dangereux : pertes d’argent, conflits familiaux, addiction…

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