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The sporting week ahead (02/01/11)


If you thought Chelsea were struggling, wait till you see Aston Villa. With Inspector Clouseau in charge (or should that be Clou-less?), it is hardly surprising. No doubt Villa will give it their best shot (in the dark) at the Bridge but expect a home win. If your head is still banging at lunchtimne, maybe skip the Old Firm clash at Ibrox, but it should have passed by 11.30pm, so settle down for the final Ashes Test in Sydney, knowing that it doesn't really matter what happens – that lovely little urn is coming home.


The final of the darts. Bookmakers will presumably have to stop taking bets on Phil Taylor becoming the "Sports" Personality if he wins his 49th world title. Elsewhere, it seems like approximately 55 minutes since the last tennis season ended, but the Aussie Open warm-ups are already up and running in Brisbane and Auckland.


Premier League action as Manchester United host Stoke, the Baggies boing over to Craven Cottage and high-flying Blackpool entertain Birmingham.


Top-flight cracker between Arsenal and Man City and a Lancashire hot pot between Bolton and Wigan. In Australia, as if it wasn't bad enough for the locals getting battered in the Ashes, they can look forward to a good old-fashioned one-day towelling at the hands of England's women in Perth.


Naughty Pakistan boys (must check with lawyer – Ed) Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif await another slap on the wrist at an ICC hearing. In above-board cricket, South Africa and India meet in a decider.


It's grim up north if you are a rugby union fan. Two of the Premiership's cellar dwellers – Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks – meet tonight.


Give yourself a pound every time the tired-old cliche "magic/romance of the FA Cup" is trotted out. Saying that, Leeds could have sold a billion tickets for the trip to Arsenal while Stevenage, Scunthorpe and Sheffield United will look to cause upsets at home to Newcastle, Everton and Aston Villa.