Editors' Picks: Formula 1 returns, UK Open darts and European heavyweight clashes

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Editors' Picks: Formula 1 returns, UK Open darts and European heavyweight clashes
The new F1 season begins in Bahrain
The new F1 season begins in Bahrain
Profimedia, Flashscore
A massive weekend of sport is on the horizon, with the return of yet another Formula 1 season taking centre stage. However, there are also plenty of seismic clashes in the footballing world, while one of the biggest darts tournaments gets underway in the UK.

Here are our editors' picks for the coming weekend.

Friday, March 1st

Darts' UK Open - 12:00 CET

The 2024 Ladbrokes UK Open gets underway on Friday, with Andrew Gilding looking to defend the title he won so dramatically last year amongst a star-studded 158-player field.  

The tournament, which takes place at Butlin’s Minehead Resort, is a unique multi-board event, as all 158 players take to the oche during a jam-packed first day’s play. 

PDC Tour Card Holders will compete in the opening three rounds alongside Rileys Amateur Qualifiers as well as top players from the 2023 PDC Winmau Challenge Tour and Development Tour Orders of Merit.

The world’s top 32 then enter the tournament on Friday evening in the fourth round, including world number one Luke Humphries, Michael van Gerwen and teenage sensation Luke Littler

Former champions Gary Anderson, Peter Wright and Nathan Aspinall will also be present at the major event, in what promises to be a blockbuster three days of darts!

Saturday, March 2nd

Bahrain Grand Prix - 16:00 CET

Another F1 season gets going this weekend with the first race of 2024 taking place, unusually, on a Saturday in Bahrain.

Not so unusual though is the expected dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen after he won his second world title in 2023 with the team winning all but one race last year.

But, it is a new year, and after an off-season that included plenty of twists, a new script is ready to be written. After testing, Ferrari, who will have Lewis Hamilton on their books from 2025, seemed to have closed the gap to Red Bull, whilst Mercedes also looked to have improved.

As normal, there are so many questions to be answered come raceday and with everyone’s points set at zero, there is always hope and anticipation for the first race of 24 this season.

Buckle up, it’s time to go racing again.

Sunday, March 3rd

PSV vs Feyenoord - 14:30 CET

It may only be the beginning of March, but it's fair to say that whether the Eredivisie heads into its final months of the season with a title fight still alive will be all but decided this weekend.

Reigning champions Feyenoord have hardly had a bad campaign, losing just two league matches, but they head to Eindhoven knowing they need to win there, because few if any clubs in the world have enjoyed a better season than PSV, who boast a record of 21 wins, two draws and zero defeats. As a result, Peter Bosz's side lead Arne Slot's by 10 points going into this top-of-the-table clash.

The top of the Eredivisie table
Flashscore

A victory for Slot's men would mean they'd go into the final stages of the season seven points behind with the advantage of being able to fully focus on the league given that they're out of Europe and PSV aren't. Their hopes of winning a second straight title would still be admittedly slim, but alive. 

A win for PSV on the other hand would effectively end the title race once and for and allow Bosz to prioritise a Champions League campaign that will continue with the second leg of a tie with Borussia Dortmund that currently stands at 1-1. Given the lack of depth in the squad, that would be a huge boost for the side's hopes of making it to the quarter-finals at the very least. 

It's a match that's not only going to be full of importance but full of attractive football too, with the two managers being two of the most expansive and attacking in Europe right now. Oh, and it'll also feature the man with the most goal contributions in top-tier European football this season, Luuk de Jong (31 goals, 11 assists), so you should tune in. 

Manchester City vs Manchester United - 16:30 CET

Pep Guardiola’s side head into Sunday's Manchester derby as heavy favourites as they look to keep pace with Liverpool and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League and secure an unprecedented fourth consecutive title.  

Manchester City’s impressive 6-2 victory over Luton in midweek saw deadly duo Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland combine for four goals, sending an ominous warning to the rest of the league ahead of the final few months of the season. 

Faced with the daunting prospect of trying to end City’s 35-match unbeaten run on home soil, Erik ten Hag will be desperate to see a positive response from his players after falling to a 10th league defeat of the season last weekend at home to Fulham.

However, with 10 goals conceded on their last two league trips to the Etihad Stadium - including an emphatic 6-3 defeat last season- it promises to be a tricky task for Manchester United.

Whatever happens, there should be plenty of excitement! 

Besiktas vs Galatasaray - 17:00 CET

When Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas go head-to-head with each other, it is always a must-watch. The Istanbul clubs are the biggest sides in Turkey, and also the most successful, making for highly competitive, highly-charged contests amongst the fierce rivals.

Galatasaray sit top of the Super Lig with 72 points from 27 games, a tally symbolising just how relentless they have been this season. However, their arch-rivals Fenerbahce have 70 points, and have had a brilliant season of their own. In fact, no team has accumulated more points than Galatasaray or Fenerbahce among Europe's top nine leagues!

Besiktas have endured a far trickier season, sitting in fourth place and a whopping 26 points off the league leaders. They recently employed former Portugal manager Fernando Santos, and despite a poor start, they are unbeaten in their last six games, conceding just one goal.

Despite the difference in league position, form often goes out the window in these types of matches, with the home side dominating this match-up over the years. But if Galatasaray can go to the Tupras Stadium and pick up the three points, they'll have taken a giant step towards their 24th Super Lig title. 

Any other result though, will open the door to Fenerbahce in their quest for a 20th title.

The atmosphere promises to be electric and it's set to be a thrilling encounter. If you want to read more about this match, check out this week's Derby Week here.

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