Tiger Woods goes into 2019 as a favourite to collect another Major. Photo: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

DURBAN – Can you believe it? This is it for the year of the dog!, And, oh my hat, it was exactly that. 2018 is done and dusted, but not without its moments. 

We had Manchester City notch up a century of points in the Premier League and Real Madrid making it three Champions League wins on the trot. 

In golf, Tiger ‘The Legend’ Woods made a comeback which many doubted would happen. The Big Cat now goes into 2019 as a favourite to collect another Major. 

Then there was classy Lewis Hamilton, who made it five F1 championships. Put some ‘respek’ on his name.

In other cases, sadly, there were some howlers. Like the third season syndrome which continued for Jose Mourinho. 

And a certain cricketing nation making a mockery of the game, assisted by some rough and ready goods from the local hardware store.

In rugga-land, the Boks and Ireland got one over the All Blacks, and we witnessed a spectacular Soccer World Cup out of Russia. 

South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit is overcome with emotion after the Springboks’ unlikely win over the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington earlier this year. Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.Photosport.nz
South Africa’s Pieter-Steph du Toit is overcome with emotion after the Springboks’ unlikely win over the All Blacks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington earlier this year. Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.Photosport.nz

To finish off the year, this weekend won’t disappoint with some tasty fixtures to perhaps help get some sort of rebate on the Christmas spending that’s dented your wallets. 

We start with one of Europe’s biggest matches, in the Old Firm derby, where Rangers take on Celtic. Steven Gerrard has got his Rangers back to being worthy competitors. They have had years of turmoil, after they went into liquidation six years ago. They fought their way back into the Premership two years ago, and are now bidding for the title.

Look out for the home team to make their mark by winning and showing that they are truly back! 

Then we jump on a quick train through the Pennines to the English Premier League, with some mince pie fixtures today and tomorrow. 

Leicester host Cardiff City, where one expects the home span to do the business. The Foxes are showing glimpses of that title-winning form from a couple seasons ago, so look at a new year’s charge from Vardy and co. They have just beaten two top tier teams in as many weeks, and they may see sneak into the Europa League places in this form. 

Tottenham are on the rise (again) and are sitting pretty on the log. Spurs host Wolves, and should be able to reassert their second place. All the above games are precursors to the biggie this evening, where Liverpool host Arsenal at Anfield. 

The Reds come into this game in great form and gunning for the ever-elusive league title this season. Liverpool are sitting six points clear of Spurs, and seven from City, after the latter’s two defeats in the last couple of weeks. 

This is unfortunate news for the Gooners, as they are solid underdogs, but I foresee a major incident and that could tip the scales. 

On Sunday we have a London Derby as Crystal Palace face Chelsea. This game should be rather entertaining, and don’t write off an upset! The rather resilient Burnley host in-form West Ham, who are in gammon good form over the festive what what. 

It will be rather tough for them to go back-to-back wins on the road, but let’s back them to blow bubbles anyway. 

Southampton may fancy a dip at Manchester City after their recent slump, but the Saints may go marching straight into a proper klap instead. The bones see City winning by more than two goals, they actually have to. 

Lastly, a resurgent Manchester United are at home to Bournemouth. United are on the charge and will continue to show Ole more Ole Ole Ole moments this weekend. 

The only other things of real interest this weekend were the Boxing Day Test matches, which are all done before Day five. Look at the same teams doing it again in the New Year’s Test matches. 

Sangoma is out for the count. 

Bye bye, 2018!

@shabsgunner


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