THE WEEK AHEAD: MAIN EVENTS

Click to follow
The Independent Online
TODAY

Football: Chelsea travel to Tottenham, hoping to pick up three vital points that could still make the difference between an automatic place in next seasons Champions' League (for finishing second in the Premiership) and a spot in the qualifying round (finishing third).

TOMORROW

Football: Leeds play hosts to Arsenal in the match that many pundits feel could decide the outcome of the title race. Former Gunner David O'Leary has worked wonders with his young team since the departure of George Graham. His side will not roll over to gift Arsenal the points they need to maintain a cushion at the top. Arsene Wenger' s men, however, have conceded just 14 goals all season, and with Kanu and Co hitting such scintillating form recently, it would be foolish to back against them winning anywhere.

WEDNESDAY

Football: At the start of the season, Blackburn v Manchester United could conceivably have been a title-contesting run-in tie, or a contest for a place in Europe at least. Instead, should old Devil Brian Kidd's side fail to win, they are relegated. Add "spirit" and "heart" to the list of things that money can't buy. For United, the match could also be their make or break fixture on the road to the Treble. While all eyes domestically will be on Ewood Park, the Uefa Cup final takes place in Moscow, pitting Marseilles against Parma, a contest which, if nothing else, will give the French and Italians reasons to crow about their football.

Equestrianism: The Windsor Horse show starts. Horses and stuff.

FRIDAY

Cricket: England, hosting the World Cup for the fourth time and still in search of a first win, kick off six weeks of excitement, intrigue and rain delays against the reigning champions, Sri Lanka, at Lord's, in their Group A match. Alec Stewart's side are the fourth favourites (behind South Africa, Australia and Pakistan) to lift the Cup. Arjuna Ranatunga's title holders are one of three sides in the chasing pack (the others being India and the West Indies) who are reckoned to be about 10-1 to lift the cup.

SATURDAY

Cricket: India play South Africa at Hove and Zimbabwe meet Kenya at Taunton to complete the first set of matches in Group A. If this really is going to "the most open World Cup ever", then the performance of teams suck as Zimbabwe and Kenya will be crucial to maintaining a level of equality. Neither side should really have a prayer, although Zimbabwe join New Zealand as one of the outsiders who are thought capable or springing surprises. Kenya have caused shocks in the past, but they must still be favourites, with Scotland and Bangladesh, for the wooden spoon.

SUNDAY

Cricket: Australia meet Scotland at Worcester and the West Indies take on Pakistan at Bristol in Group B.

Football: After nine months of twists and turns, the Premiership season reaches its denouement. Depending on events in the week, there could still be everything to play for at both ends of the table. Arsenal (who face Aston Villa), Manchester United (who play Tottenham) and Chelsea (who meet Derby) will be jostling to finalise who takes the top three spots in the table and in what order. Blackburn may already be relegated, but if they have beaten Alex Ferguson's side in midweek, they will still need to win away at Newcastle and for other results to go their way to stay up. The two crucial games at the bottom see Southampton host a recently rampant Everton, and Charlton host Sheffield Wednesday. A win for Southampton will keep them up.

Motor racing: For non-aficianados, the Monaco Grand Prix has to be the most watchable race of the year. Perhaps other tracks could stick in a few tunnels, a casino, a bit of sea in the background and some small, sloping streets, and the whole dull charade would be that bit more exciting.

Comments