The sporting week ahead (15/04/12)

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The Independent Online


The farce surrounding the England manager is now so absurd that it is anyone's guess what the FA's Gang of Four will do when Harry Redknapp turns up on their doorstep at Wembley today. Certainly not talk to him. If he gets even within 100 yards of David Bernstein, the FA's Head of Not Appointing a New Manager will probably just bury his nose in the programme. Not that Redknapp will have much more than Spurs on his mind when they face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final. But there can be no better stage to re-establish his fading credentials for what used to be considered the top job in English football. Of course that position is now occupied by a club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, who suffered a wobble of their own in midweek at Wigan. Ferguson will be looking for a much better show against an ailing Aston Villa. Celtic play Hearts in the Scottish Cup semi-final, while early risers may catch the end of the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.


Wigan are not a team you can write off easily and, having seen off United, victory against a resurgent Arsenal would see them deserve to stay up.


The SFA's hearing into Craig Whyte's stewardship of Rangers should be short and sweet: wrong man at the wrong time at the wrong club. Case closed. It's much harder to predict the outcome of Bayern Munich v Real Madrid in the Champions' League semi-final first leg.


Jose Mourinho has already written off Chelsea's chances against Barcelona, but that is surely kidology. The Blues can score against anyone and if they keep Barça from notching in London they will stay in the mix for next week.


This is clearly the week for football's bad apples. Mohamed Bin Hammam appeals against his life ban from Fifa. Even Craig Whyte stands more chance of restoring his reputation.


The sight of Andrew Strauss togging out for Middlesex is as rare as a "House Full" sign in county cricket, but such is his need for runs that he plays against Durham today.


This should be the day to settle who are London's top three clubs. If Arsenal beat Chelsea the honour should be theirs, even if Spurs win at QPR. The World Snooker Championship starts its annual stint in Sheffield.