The sporting week ahead (20/10/13)

Today

The world has changed somewhat for Andros Townsend since he last pulled on a Tottenham shirt. Back in those innocent times, when monkeys were confined to zoos not spaceships, he could hardly have imagined two stellar England performances followed by a walk-on part in the strangest England story since Glenn Hoddle got entangled with Eileen Drewery. So now it is back to the day job at Villa.

In rugby Harlequins have not won for a month and will do well to rediscover the habit today at Clermont in the Heineken Cup. Brands Hatch will probably attract the biggest sporting crowd of the day for the British Superbike finale.

Tomorrow

You will probably get long odds on Ian Holloway and Martin Jol surviving until the end of the season and both will be desperate for points when Crystal Palace host Fulham in a game neither can afford to lose. In Zurich, the World Cup wannabees learn their fate in the play-off draw.

Tuesday

Chelsea have got off to an uneven Champions League start and need to win in Schalke to get themselves back in charge of the group. But a draw would not be a disaster. Arsenal entertain Borussia Dortmund, although the best atmosphere will be in Glasgow for Celtic's clash with Ajax.

Wednesday

Manchester United, home to Real Sociedad, and City, away to CSKA Moscow, complete the Champions League action. In cricket, England head off for Australia and an Ashes series that comes almost as an unwanted after-thought.

Thursday

When Wigan and Swansea dreamed excitedly about European football they probably never thought of Rubin Kazan or Kuban Krasnador but that is who they play today. Tottenham will aim to shoot down Sheriff of Moldova. In golf the BMW Masters in Shanghai has attracted a good field, including McIlroy, Rose and Westwood.

Friday

Middlesbrough v Doncaster. As gritty and no-nonsense as it gets.

Saturday

And so it begins. Of all the places for the Rugby League World Cup to start convincing sceptics that it is a tournament to savour, Cardiff seems strange. But today sees the double header between Australia/England and Wales/Italy. At least the opening ceremony sounds fun with the likes of Martin Offiah doing a spot of dancing.

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