The sporting week ahead (08/04/12)

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The Independent Online


Manchester City's title credentials are well and truly on the line as they visit Arsenal, where they have not won since 1975. United are likely to take three points at home to QPR, so Mancini's men really must win to stay in touch at the top. And there's the small matter of the Masters. Will Tiger win his sixth Green Jacket? Or after last year's final-round meltdown, can Rory McIlroy give the garment a special Irish tinge? Saracens take on Clermont Auvergne in a tricky Heineken Cup quarter-final, while Munster are at home to Ulster. The first MotoGP of the year is in Qatar, where it seems all sporting contests will soon be held.


There's a cracker in the Championship's late game as West Ham play host to Birmingham City, while play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough pay a visit to Hull City. If you're looking for a noisy day out, the British Superbikes season begins at Brands Hatch.


There's a whiff of whaff in the air as the European Olympic table-tennis qualifiers start today. Boris Johnson might take time off from his political ping-pong with Ken Livingstone to check it out. Blackburn will look to take a point or three at home to Liverpool; Brighton take on Reading at the top of the Championship.


They are all must-win games for City now but three points at home to West Bromwich is a necessity. Sadly for them, United are also playing tonight – and they are at Wigan.


The build-up to the Grand National begins at Aintree with "Liverpool Day". Kenny Dalglish will no doubt be contemplating the fact that he could well be flogging a dead horse.


More Championship scrabbling as Reading move down the coast to Southampton. It's Ladies' Day at Aintree, so lots of Scouse birds tottering around in skimpy satin dresses and high heels, slightly the worse for wear. There could be more casualties than in the...


... big race. The ground will be hard, the fences harder. Shakalakaboomboom is our big hope, just so we can hear the commentators trying to say the name twice a second in the closing stages. Bizarrely, Liverpool and Everton contest an FA Cup semi-final in London.