The Week Ahead: Murray v Djokovic; FA Cup; England football squad; Six Nations
Sunday 27 January 2013
Come on, you don't need to be reading this. Up early, telly on... it's Andy Murray time. The Scot is all set for Novak Djokovic and another one of those fist-pumping, high-octane clashes where it becomes almost too tense to watch. In football, Brentford will be looking to do a Bradford and complete a week of cup shocks against Chelsea. Also in the FA Cup this afternoon, Oldham and Leeds will be hoping to rekindle former glories against Liverpool and Tottenham. The fifth-round draw follows at 5.50pm.
These are lean times for the West Country: Bristol City look bound for League One, Swindon are on the brink of administration and Plymouth and Bristol Rovers could both fall from League Two. So tonight's Exeter v Torquay clash has an extra resonance. Let's have some good news for a change.
At the start of the season not many folk would have wrapped the words "relegation six-pointer" around Aston Villa v Newcastle. But the Premier League's two big underperformers look to avoid more embarrassment against each other. QPR will do well to take anything from Manchester City but Wigan might sneak something from Stoke.
Inevitably, more Premier League, with Liverpool hoping to end their atrocious record of not beating any of the top teams this season, although whether Arsenal still fall into that category is open to doubt. The new Southampton manager, Mauricio Pochettino, has an early chance to see how high the bar is set in England at Old Trafford, where Sir Alex Ferguson won't be doing the new boy any favours. Chelsea face Reading.
Roy Hodgson names his England squad for next week's game against Brazil, which is one of the few friendlies worth getting excited about.
Rugby league comes out of hibernation with the first two Super League matches of the year: Leeds v Hull and Salford v Wigan.
Expectations could scarcely be higher for England's opening Six Nations game at Twickenham. Not only did they see off New Zealand last time out, but Scotland are the opposition. Coach Stuart Lancaster's main task will be to cap the confidence in the lead-up, because these are the sort of odds that turn modest journeymen into Bravehearts. By contrast, the day's other match, Wales v Ireland, looks very difficult to call. In football, the Premier League's evening clash, Fulham against Manchester United, takes top billing.
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