The sporting week ahead (09/12/12)

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The Independent Online


Since when did the Premier League become a one-city competition? Those who say that Manchester's top club will definitely bag the title this year may well be right, but you don't have to be a complete southern softie to believe that Tottenham, who travel to Everton today, are the Premier League's form team, while at Chelsea Roman Abramovich could yet change this season's dynamic by splashing £100 million (and hiring a new manager?) in January. All that said, today's Mancunian set-to should be fascinating. Given both sides' recent history, it is hard to believe there won't be goals. What price United to sneak it 5-4? Later this afternoon, West Ham v Liverpool also looks pretty tasty.


Fulham, who have not won in seven games, are dropping dangerously through the top flight, and another defeat at home to Newcastle tonight will add another row of bags under Martin Jol's perpetually tired eyes.


And there will be plenty more anxious faces at the Stadium of Light, where two more strugglers, Sunderland and Reading, meet. Meanwhile in the Capital One Cup, where goals continue to flow, Bradford face Arsenal in the quarter-finals. Arsène Wenger won't need telling that this might be the club's best chance of a trophy this season.


Swansea and Middlesbrough will also be eyeing Wembley via this competition. Win tonight and they will be just one step away.


England's cricketers have made such an impressive fist of their series against India that few will be betting against them in the Fourth and final Test in Nagpur. Given the events at Kolkata, it will almost certainly turn out to be a result wicket, but England should not fear that.


The return legs of this weekend's Heineken Cup games see Edinburgh entertain Racing Métro.


Martin O'Neill was once talked about as a successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But the Ulsterman's credentials are looking a bit tattered these days, and he will hardly fancy Sunderland's chances at Old Trafford. City, meanwhile, head to Newcastle while Chelsea are otherwise engaged in the Fifa Club World Cup, a pointless exercise in self-aggrandisement.