Editors' Picks: High-flying Villa take on Arsenal, NBA In-Season Tournament arrives in Vegas

Editors' Picks: High-flying Villa take on Arsenal, NBA In-Season Tournament arrives in Vegas
Aston Villa's home form will be tested when Arsenal arrive
Aston Villa's home form will be tested when Arsenal arrive
High-quality football seems to be coming thick and fast during this busy festive period, with a number of mammoth clashes taking place around Europe. But eyes will also be on Vegas, where the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament reaches its climax.

Make sure you are tuned in for these picks this weekend.

NBA In-Season Tournament

The inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament has been taking place over the last month, and the facts are that it has been a huge success.

The knockout tournament was introduced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, with the aim of introducing knockout basketball to make the regular season feel even more competitive. And it has worked, adding more of a playoff vibe to games. Viewing numbers have also gone up, suggesting that the viewing public has also been drawn in.

The group stage and quarter-finals have already come to an end, with the semi-finals set to take place tonight at the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas, with all four teams targeting a spot in the final this Sunday, also in Vegas.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard's Milwaukee Bucks will face off against the on-fire Tyrese Haliburton and Indiana Pacers at 23:00 CET tonight. LeBron James' LA Lakers then take on the New Orleans Pelicans at 03:00 CET.

It's set to be a big couple of days in Sin City, so make sure you tune in for some do-or-die basketball.

Follow the final few games of the NBA In-Season Tournament at Flashscore

Friday, December 8th

Juventus vs Napoli - 20:45 CET

A red-hot Juventus host struggling rivals Napoli at the Allianz Stadium on Friday night, a fixture both sets of supporters look forward to every year. This season, Juventus have serious hopes of winning the Scudetto for the first time in four years. Meanwhile, Napoli are well off where they were last campaign when they won their historical league title, during a season in which they defeated the Bianconeri 1-0 and 5-1.

Juve will be looking to take down the champions Napoli

Juventus have only lost one match so far and will be looking for a crucial three points against Napoli to stay on the back of league leaders Inter Milan ahead of Christmas. On the other hand, the men in blue have appointed Walter Mazzarri as Rudi Garcia's replacement following a disappointing first half of the season. The manager might have changed, the results though, not quite yet, as they have lost their last two games. A win at the Old Lady's home is unlikely but would hand the champions a lifeline.

Saturday, December 8th

Aston Villa vs Arsenal - 18:30 CET

Aston Villa have been absolutely scintillating this season under Unai Emery, with their recent victory against the champions Manchester City taking them to third in the Premier League, just four points off the top. Their home record has been spectacular, winning their last 14 games at Villa Park in the league. 

The last team to beat them at home? Current league leaders Arsenal, all the way back in February. And they rock back up into town this weekend.

The Gunners sit atop the Premier League, with second-placed Liverpool just two points behind them. Mikel Arteta's men haven't been as fluent as they were at this point last season, but there's a different sort of steely determination about them, playing a more organised and efficient style, with William Saliba, Gabriel Maghaeles and Declan Rice becoming a formidable trio.  

Playing at Villa Park is as tough a test for any side in England at the minute, and if Arsenal can come away with three points, it would be a huge statement as they look to win their first title since 2004. However, former Arsenal manager Emery will have something to say about that. Could victory for the Villans suddenly put themselves in title contention? 

Dortmund vs Leipzig - 18:30 CET

Fifth-place Borussia Dortmund host fourth-place Leipzig this weekend in the Bundesliga, with both teams battling it out for a spot in the Champions League.

Dortmund are coming off the back of a good point away at table-toppers Bayer Leverkusen. However, their form domestically hasn't been great, a total contrast to how they have been performing in the Champions League, qualifying out of a group with PSG, Newcastle and AC Milan in it. Julian Brandt has been superb for the hosts though, scoring four goals and providing five assists in the league. 

Dortmund are coming off the back of a draw at Leverkusen

Leipzig have struggled for consistency in recent weeks, but in Luis Openda, they have a striker who has flourished since joining from Lens in the summer. The Belgian has 17 goal contributions in 21 games, while also being clocked as the fastest player in the Bundesliga this season.

It promises to be an exciting affair in Germany.

Sunday, December 9th

Tottenham vs Newcastle - 17:30 CET

Another two sides aiming to secure Champions League football go head to head on Sunday, with one side in far better form than the other.

Tottenham have picked up just one point out of a possible last 12, but that point did come away at Manchester City thanks to an impressive second-half performance. Despite a drop-off in results, Spurs have received plenty of plaudits for their style of football and improvement under Ange Postecoglou. Injuries have hampered them in the last few weeks, but they are well in contention for a spot in the top four due to early season results.

Kulusevski's goal meant Spurs snatched a draw at City

Newcastle will offer them an extremely tough test though. Like Spurs, they have been going through an injury crisis, but have been able to manage it well, securing wins against Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as being minutes away from a famous win away at PSG in Europe. With relentless pace and power throughout their team, led by the superb Anthony Gordon, they will fancy their chances of leaving London with a win. 


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