The sporting week ahead (20/11/11)

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The Independent Online


In Chelsea v Liverpool last year, Kenny Dalglish triumphed, Raul Meireles was the hero of the travelling reds and Fernando Torres was a rather embarrassed passenger. This season, Dalglish is in retreat, Meireles is in blue and Torres has at the very least reacquainted himself with an understanding of how to score a goal. With Guus Hiddink prowling for work, Andre Villas-Boas could do with a reversal of February's 0-1.


Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both get under way at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals; the climax of the tennis season (more or less), at the O2 in London, the game's spiritual home (more or less). In Johannesburg, this is the final scheduled day of a pointlessly short Test series between South Africa and Australia.


After their draw at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City's away game with Napoli will definitively decide which is the finest sky-blue team in the game. In a more material sense, it ought to decide who qualifies for the right to lose to Real Madrid in the last 16.


The most entertaining players in the world face a once-legendary team whose glory days are 20 years behind them: the Third Test between India and West Indies begins in Mumbai; thousands of miles away, Barcelona go to Milan in the Champions' League.


Those disappointed at a lack of Europa League football – there must be some – can certainly get their missing fix of tension, drama and importance at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, where Sion's hearing over their expulsion from the competition will be heard.


While the behaviour of rugby players is not always perfect, the conduct of fans is. So games are routinely allowed on Friday nights: you may safely start your weekend with Scarlets v Newport-Gwent Dragons or Worcester v Bath.


But for a bourgeois fan-base, football is overtaking rugby. London's two most gentrified clubs – Arsenal and Fulham – meet in el middle-classico in the teatime slot. Expect Holloway Road to be swamped afterwards with those rushing back for Strictly. Newcastle United also travel to Manchester United, a game that used to be a rivalry, and might just become one again.