The sporting week ahead (06/05/12)
Sunday 06 May 2012
Manchester City can do something never done before – blow the title for a second time. On Monday they dragged their way back into it but still need to win at Newcastle United. Given the ability of Papiss Cissé and Hatem Ben Arfa to score from anywhere be prepared for something spectacular.
Two varying conceptions of how to stay up will be on show at Ewood Park. This year Wigan Athletic have stuck to their approach, bought good players and kept the fans onside. Blackburn Rovers have never had anything approaching an approach, have bought bad players, and have surrendered their support. Wigan will probably send Blackburn down here.
Another afternoon in the Indian Premier League. Adam Gilchrist's Kings XI Punjab should stay near the top. They face Deccan Chargers, the worst team so far despite having Kumar Sangakkara and Dale Steyn. Even the IPL, the most cosmetic marketing of sport yet seen, is not yet played on paper.
Spanish football is transported to Bucharest as Atletico Madrid take on Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League final. England's top two teams both competed in this – Bilbao were so superior when knocking out Manchester United that they are probably better than City too.
The touring West Indies cricket team face England Lions at Northampton. With drizzle, chill and a swinging ball it is rather different from the conditions they have left in the Caribbean so any good figures taken by England's brightest might not be wholly representative.
Chris Gayle will not be at Northampton – though he is, apparently, gracing England with his presence for the one-day internationals. Until then, though, he is representing Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. He is doing rather well, averaging over 50 with a strike rate beyond 150. Enjoy more of the entertainment as he takes Pune Warriors to pieces.
From the shame of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Formula One relocates to Barcelona, home of sporting virtue. And after their football team lost to Chelsea, the city could probably do with a lift.
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