Editors' Picks: Derby day arrives as heavyweights collide in the Rugby World Cup

Editors' Picks: Derby day arrives as heavyweights collide in the Rugby World Cup
Will Bellingham light up the Madrid Derby?
Will Bellingham light up the Madrid Derby?
Each week we pick out a few standout events in the coming weekend's sporting calendar that you simply cannot miss. This weekend we're honing in on the Rugby World Cup, Formula One, a couple of huge derbies in European football and the return of the NHL.

Of course, the sport never sleeps but here are our editors' picks for what to watch this weekend.

Saturday, September 23rd

NHL Global Series (06:05 CET & Sunday 06:05 CET)

The NHL regular season is not far away - starting on the 10th of October - and to get you back in the mood for all the blood, sweat and tears spilt in the world's best hockey league, the preseason is the perfect primer!

This year, the preseason starts with another edition of the NHL Global Series, this time taking the best hockey players all the way to the great southern land - Australia. You simply can't go much further than that!

The Arizona Coyotes, who had a forgettable 2022/23 season, and the Los Angeles Kings, who fell in the first round of last season's playoffs, will play two matches at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena  - home of tennis' Australian Open on Saturday and Sunday. They will be spreading the good word of the NHL Down Under and, hopefully, rousing some excitement for the coming season the world over.

South Africa vs. Ireland (21:00 CET)

The top two ranked sides in the world - need I say any more? Well, probably, yeah... If you’re not a rugby fan and you’re looking to get into the sport during the ongoing World Cup, you might be glancing at the schedule thinking - why is this tournament so damn long? And, can I just wait until the latter stages? Both are valid thoughts.

Truthfully, many of the Pool-stage matches aren’t very interesting for less engaged fans but there are a few that really stick out and this is one of those. Thanks to the luck (or unluck) of the draw, these two heavyweight sides got grouped together and this will be a proper blockbuster encounter.

South Africa and Ireland are two of the main contenders to lift the Webb Ellis trophy in late October and they are in glittering form. Both sides absolutely battered Romania - poor guys - collectively putting 158 points past the lowly side. The Springboks beat them 76-0 and Ireland, 82-8 - at what point do you stop saying in the huddle, “It’s still 0-0, boys!”?

These two green machines are operating at the peak of their powers and there’s a good chance they could meet again in the final in Paris. Whoever wins this match will have a huge boost of confidence going forward and could reasonably be called the favourite to win it all.

Sunday, September 24th

Japanese Grand Prix (07:00 CET)

What has been a damp squib of a Formula 1 season burst into life last time out in Singapore. The usually dominant Red Bull were well off the pace, and in their absence, Carlos Sainz held off Lando Norris and the Mercedes drivers to win a thrilling four-way fight for victory. Whether the rest of the campaign will consist of more of the same or become the Max Verstappen show again will be answered at the Japanese Grand Prix. 

Verstappen and Co. are confident they'll be back to their best in Suzuka, claiming they only struggled in Singapore because the track didn't suit their car and they got the setup of it wrong. However, there have been suggestions from others that their problems were caused by a technical directive introduced by the FIA that outlawed some parts of their machinery. 

If that is the case, we'll almost certainly be treated to the first of many titanic battles to come in Japan with McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari all looking more than capable of taking advantage of any issues the championship leaders may be facing. If not, then Red Bull will almost certainly secure their third Constructors' Championship in a row. Either way, there'll be plenty of reasons to tune in.

Oh, and did we mention that thanks to its fast, relentless, unforgiving nature, the circuit is the one on the calendar that most drivers look forward to more than any other? Yeah, you don't want to miss this! 

The North London Derby (15:00 CET)

Arsenal host Tottenham this weekend in one of the most fiery and exciting derbies in the Premier League. Both sides are unbeaten this season with 13 points from a possible 15, making this clash even tastier.

The Gunners haven't been at their fluent best five games in, with Mikel Arteta still trying to find the right balance in midfield. Despite this, they have still managed to get the points on the board, and are coming off the back of an impressive victory against PSV in the Champions League. Captain Martin Odegaard is in phenomenal form, and the Norwegian will be the key man for Arsenal.

Under Ange Postecoglu, Spurs have looked a completely different outfit to the one under Antonio Conte. The football has been fluid while the mood has been so much more positive around the club. He seems to have brought the joy back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, this will be their first real test, and their record at the Emirates is shockingly poor, with their last win coming all the way back in 2010. Can Ange mastermind a seismic victory for Spurs?

The Madrid Derby (21:00 CET)

The pick of the action from Spain this week has to be the Madrid Derby and what a way to end the weekend’s football than by watching two titans of Europe, and old enemies, lock horns in the Metropolitano.

Real Madrid have started the LaLiga season with five wins from five, having been propelled by the scintillating form of new singing Jude Bellingham (20), who has scored five in the league already from midfield. On the other hand, Atletico have already dropped four points, having played a match fewer, and are looking to catch up.

There would be no sweeter fruit on Sunday for Diego Simeone and his side than to knock Los Blancos off their current perch and rein them in a bit in the standings.

Recent head-to-head record

The sides played thrice last term - twice in the league and once in the Cope del Rey - with Real winning two matches and the most recent meeting ending in a 1-1 draw. Don’t be fooled by the form guide, however, Simeone and Co. have a point to prove and this derby is rarely if ever, not a close-fought game.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of football's biggest rivalries and take a look at all the derbies in store this week, read our weekly feature Derby Week.


France gouvernement

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

Retrouvez nos conseils sur joueurs-info-service.fr (09-74-75-13-13, appel non surtaxé)

Do you want to withdraw your consent to display betting ads?
Yes, change settings