Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

The Premier League’s busy festive season kicks off tonight with the meeting of Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.

A win will see the Gunners replace Liverpool in the Top 4, but they lost 4-nil when the sides met at Anfield in August.


There have been 21 goals scored in the last four matches between the clubs, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp says points are his main priority tonight

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says this season, a win in the match would have increased significance

Kick off is at 7.45.

Manchester United say they have conducted research which shows they have a harder fixture list their title rivals over Christmas.

The Red Devils point out that Jose Mourinho’s side have just six non-match days over the festive period.

Liverpool and Manchester City have seven, Chelsea eight.

Swansea caretaker boss Leon Britton says there won’t be any major tactical overhaul now he is in charge.

The player coach has stepped in at the Premier League’s bottom club after Paul Clement was sacked.

The Welsh side are preparing for a vital game at home to Crystal Palace tomorrow.

Britton is determined to get his team-mates’ belief back

Norwich can leapfrog tonight’s opponents with a win in the Championship later.

Brentford visit Carrow Road, with just a point between the mid-table sides ahead of a 7.45 start.


RUGBY

France could have a new head coach for Christmas.

French media are reporting that Guy Noves is on the verge of being replaced by Jacques Brunel.

Les Blues have won just seven of their 21 Tests under Noves.

The news comes less than six weeks before Ireland play France in their Six Nations opener.


DARTS

The P-D-C World Championship reaches the second round stage today.

Defending champion Michael van Gerwen takes on James Wilson in the final match of the night.

Before that, the Paul Lim fairytale enters a second chapter – the 63-year old goes up against the third seed Gary Anderson.

Mesur Suljovic – the fifth seed – faces Robert Thornton.

The first match of a busy programme at Alexandra Palace sees Gerwyn Price take on Ian White.

HORSE RACING

The evergreen Gordon Lord Byron, who has achieved Group 1 wins in France, England and Australia, will be back racing at Dundalk this evening, a surface in which he landed the first two wins of his career six years ago.

Tom Hogan’s stable star returned to handicap company for the first time since 2012 with a fine effort in fifth over a mile here a fortnight ago and the nine-year-old will have to give weight all round to his rivals again in the Crowne Plaza Leading Jockey & Trainer Awards 2017 Handicap (6.30).

Russian Soul, the other nine-year-old in the field and a fine sort in his own right, will be chasing his 12th career win.

Togoville was a game winner from the front last week for Anthony McCann, who has decided to pitch his grey into battle again.

Another last time out winner at the track is Cascavelle, who is the only three-year-old in the line-up. His handler Robbie McNamara is understood to be planning a trip to Dubai with his Zhang Yuesheng-owned colt, provided he performs up to scratch in this.

It’s not often you see juveniles with a rating in excess of 100 running deep into the winter, but Jim Bolger obviously thinks he has found a winning opportunity for his Leopardstown maiden winner, Theobald, who runs in the 5.00.

The racing at Dundalk is underway at 4.30 and the surface is standard.