The sporting week ahead (05/05/13)

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Given that Everton have conceded fewer Premier League goals, just three, than anybody else in their past six games – and that Liverpool are missing Luiz Suarez – we are not expecting a goalfest at Anfield today. Everton won't win either (14 years since they managed one at Anfield), but there might be a red card (this fixture attracts more than any other in the Premier League). And talking of old rivals, down the M62 all eyes will be on the body language between Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez.


Since Paolo Di Canio took over, Sunderland have been stunningly good (against Newcastle) and embarrassingly bad (against Aston Villa) so what will he conjure up next, this time against Stoke? We can only suggest you tune in to find out. Whatever it is, it will probably make great TV.... as will the final of the snooker in Sheffield.


Manchester City and Wigan both play – against West Bromwich Albion and Swansea respectively – ahead of their meeting in Saturday's FA Cup final.


Fourth place in the Premier League may yet come down to a knockout, with Chelsea and Tottenham clashing tonight at Stamford Bridge. In cricket, Warwickshire face Middlesex at the start of a heavyweight County Championship clash at Edgbaston.


Rory McIlroy is finding some form ahead of the Players Championship, traditionally looked at as the fifth major, which starts today in Florida. In cricket, England Lions start a four-day game against the New Zealand tourists at Leicester. In football, almost every Championship club were involved in a spot of nail-biting on Saturday, but for the play-off four a mini-season starts today with Leicester and Watford the first two semi-finalists to kick off.


And today it's Crystal Palace against Brighton in the other play-off.


FA Cup final Saturday once ended the football season; now it's a blip in the calendar before the action resumes next week. This year it is even more difficult to get excited about the game for those not involved. Only a Wigan win would rescue the day. Meanwhile, Formula One sees its first grand prix of the year in Europe – in Barcelona.