WEEK AHEAD: It’s Christmas week and there is a reduced schedule of action before the usual Boxing Day sporting frenzy begins.

On Monday, things get things going with the next round of ties from the Darts World Championship, as Dutch legend Raymond van Barneveld makes his Ally Pally return at 19:00 on Sky Sports.

It’s NFL time early on Tuesday morning, with the Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears at 01:15 on Sky Sports. The first round of the darts draws to a close from 12:30 and there’s football too, with the quarter final of the EFL Cup where Arsenal will be looking to avoid any slip ups against League One Sunderland (19:45, Sky Sports).

Darting action continues from 12:30 on Wednesday, before Tottenham host West Ham in the EFL Cup. The Hammers have never won the League Cup, while Spurs are the sixth most successful side in the competition’s history, with four wins. See how both teams fare from 19:45 on Sky Sports.

Thursday is the last day from the Ally Pally before a three-day Christmas break, and it looks a strong billing with former champion Rob Cross and world number seven Jose de Sousa in action. Tune in at 12:30 on Sky Sport and don’t miss a dart.

As the domestic action begins a two-day lull, the sport continues stateside. The San Francisco 49ers seek to address their poor home record but face a difficult task when the Tennessee Titans come calling at 01:20 on Friday (Sky Sports).

On Christmas Day, the Green Bay Packers are on the road to face the Cleveland Browns in an NFL Christmas cracker from 21:30 on Sky Sports.

Sunday is Boxing Day and as is traditional, it looks a real feast of sport. An interesting tie in the Premier League gets the day underway, when Liverpool are at home to Leeds (12:30, BT Sport). The Reds are not the opposition Marcelo Bielsa’s side would have hoped of facing as they seek to bounce back from their recent 7-0 humiliation at the hands of Manchester City.

December 26th is one of the biggest days in the horse racing calendar, with the King George VI Chase live from Kempton Park. Catch all the action live from 13:00 on ITV.

After narrow defeats against Man City and Liverpool, Aston Villa will be hoping for better when they face Chelsea in a 17:30 (Sky Sports) kick-off. Brighton are on a 12 game run without a win and need to rekindle their early season from when they face Brentford at 20:00.

As the week draws to a close the action will be only just beginning Down Under with the first day of the Third Ashes Test from the Melbourne Cricket Ground at 23:30 on BT Sport.