The Week Ahead in Sport: 16/09/2012

 

Today

Of all the Premier League managers, the one you fear for is AVB.

This reflects less on his start at Tottenham than on the popularity of the manager he replaced and the manner of his leaving Chelsea. Taken together, they already seem to add up to a huge barrier for Andre Villas-Boas to overcome. The supporters don't really seem to want him and this week's resumption of the Champions' League only serves to remind us that Chelsea needed to remove him to win the trophy last season.

Reading should provide a modest challenge to his new side today but he will not be given the same margin for error as, say, Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. Lose today and there could be trouble ahead.

Monday

Everton seem to have cornered the Monday-night football slot. Earlier this season the Toffees disposed of Manchester United at Goodison Park and here they are again at home to Newcastle after everyone else are done and dusted.

Home win likely.

Tuesday

First day of Champions' League action and it doesn't come much bigger than Mourinho v Mancini as Real Madrid take on Manchester City. For the Premier League champions, there is no better place to make a statement in Europe than the Bernabeu. Arsenal have a winnable game in Montpellier. Meanwhile, in deepest Yorkshire, two cracking derbies in the Football League: Leeds v Hull and Sheffield Wednesday v Huddersfield.

The ICC World Twenty20 Cup begins in Hambantota, where hosts Sri Lanka should pulverise Zimbabwe.

Wednesday

Another exciting Champions' League night sees Chelsea take on Juventus, Manchester United v Galatasaray and Celtic v Benfica, three games rich in heritage and possibility.

In Sri Lanka, England have a warm-up game against Pakistan while, in the tournament proper, perennial party- poopers Ireland will be looking for another scalp against Australia.

Thursday

Europa League Group A: Young Boys v Liverpool. If the Reds lose, expect a variation on that old joke about it being a good thing they weren't facing the Bern men's team.

Friday

England finally get under way in the World Twenty20 with what should be a gentle outing against Afghanistan.

Saturday

With hardly a bumper day of Premier League football, sporting interest might focus on Lewis Hamilton in Singapore. Another win tomorrow would greatly enhance his bargaining position in the tussle between McLaren and Mercedes.

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