The Sporting Week Ahead (05/02/2012)

 

Today

What used to be the annual Premier League title-decider between Chelsea and Manchester United could be different today. United might be stagnating, but Chelsea are rotting rapidly: radically worse at every discipline than they were last season. For the first time in years United should be favourites in their least favourite corner of SW6. Super Bowl XLVI is a title-decider, by definition. Contrast the New England Patriots' 21st Century hegemony and mythic regional status with the New York Giants' big-city glamour and fame and it's essentially the same narrative as the contest at Stamford Bridge.

Tomorrow

After the haunting trauma of the stoppage-time defeat at Manchester City, the Tottenham circus goes on to Anfield. They will not be facing Mario Balotelli, who cleaned his studs on Scott Parker's hair before scoring the penalty two weeks ago. However, Luis Suarez is back from his ban, and his blend of gentlemanly conduct and serene finishing could produce similar results.

Tuesday

Birmingham fans might complain that they are badly run and losing key players, that things are not as good as they used to be: until they host Portsmouth, and realise reliability is a relative term when it comes to owners.

Wednesday

India must welcome the chance to face the same opponents, Australia, in the same format, as their famous World Cup final win 10 months ago. Since then it has been humiliation upon humiliation; as if a year's supply of competence has been exhausted.

Thursday

European champions Leinster are strolling rugby union's Pro12 so far, and hope to continue their dominance against Treviso. Losing the heart of their team to Ireland's Six Nations push is likely to be more of a concern than any complacency.

Friday

Ospreys, as ever, are the most plausible challengers to the Irish dominance of the Pro12, although they will be rather one-handed in Edinburgh.

Saturday

Expect welcoming banners and tickertape for Luis Suarez at Old Trafford when United entertain Liverpool. It is always nice to swiftly return a favour of hosting, particularly within a fortnight of a last-minute elimination from the FA Cup.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...