This week will see many sporting events that promise to deliver some interesting spectacles. For this post I will look at some of the stories and upcoming fixtures that have taken my interest. This will include the Champions League matches as well as a look at the return of Tiger Woods and David Hayes first title defence.
Football is inevitably dominating the back pages at the moment as we enter the 'business end' of the season. Arsenal's title hopes were damaged by a 1-1 draw with Birmingham at the weekend as they did what I, and many others, believed and said that they would do by slipping up in the title race. On a poor surfaces, facing an aggressive Birmingham side and without Cesc Fabregas able to pull the strings the Gunners were unable to get all three points. Only four days later Arsenal host the best team in the world as Barcelona travel to the Emirates for the first leg of the Quarter-Final tonight. Although Barcelona will go into the match as favourites, and rightly so, Arsenal have a great chance at causing an upset at odds of 2/1. The Spanish champions have not had the best away form in this year's competition and Arsenal's flowing football could match up well against them. Arsenal's weakness against the counter-attack, however, could easily be their undoing with Messi looking as though he can score every time he gets the ball. It also has the added interests of returns to their old clubs for Fabregas (if fit) and Henry. Predictions aside, this promises to be one of the most attractive and entertaining football matches that spectators could hope for and you can only hope that it is the mouth-watering affair that football fans expect.
Last night Manchester United suffered a 2-1 defeat to Bayern Munich as the German side completed their desire for revenge after the 1999 Champions League final by scoring a 92nd minute winner of their own. The result cannot be said to have been unfair as, in second half particular, Bayern looked far more dangerous with Ferguson's side seemed unable to keep hold of the ball. To make matters worse Rooney is thought to be out for 2-4 weeks with a sprained ankle and will therefore miss Chelsea's trip to Old Trafford and the second leg against Bayern which could prove vital for the Red Devil's dreams of a Premiership and Champions League title.
There has been a lot of speculation over the future of Jose Mourinho who seems to disillusioned with Italian football. Despite being top of Serie A and still in Europe 'the special one' seems to have adopted the role of the pantomime villain in Italy. It appears as though the football traditionalists over there have not taken to Mourinho's outspoken nature. A Sky Sports News Italian football correspondent said that he was not loved in Italy and he is not loved in England other than with Chelsea and the British media. I completely disagree. Mourinho is a great character and I, like many, would love to see him return to the Premiership because he brings something very different from the repetitiveness of managerial interviews. Whether it be with Manchester City, Liverpool or any other club I would welcome his return.
Away from football the big event that is receiving a lot of attention is Tiger Wood's imminent return to the golf course in the The Masters next week. The responses to my view that golf is not a sport have made me rethink my statement that I will not be covering it and thought that this story was worth a mention, if only briefly. It will be very interesting to see the response that he gets when he tees off at Augusta. Despite his absence from the game he is still favourite to win the event at 3/1 and 6/1 to not make the cut. It can be assumed that the response to his return will be mixed and perhaps somewhat muted although the idea of booing and taunting chants on a golf course does would be very entertaining.
On Saturday David Haye will make the first defence of his WBA heavyweight title against John Ruiz at the MEN arena. Haye is favourite for the fight but Ruiz is at 8/1 to win by KO or TKO which are not bad odds. Ruiz, 38, has held the title at two times in his career and has won 44 of his 54 fights, 30 of these by KO. Haye's chin is vulnerable and could be tested against his experienced opponent. It should make for a much more even fight than many have assumed and should be an entertaining contest. Haye winning would not only be good news for British boxing fans but also would be good news for the heavyweight division. The boring Klitschko brothers desperately need to stripped of their belts and Haye is one of few bright sparks in a dwindling weight-class and for him to unify the division would is just what boxing needs.
On a more comical note, the mighty Audley Harrison is returning to the ring to face Micheal Sprott for the European Heavyweight crown. The winner of the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics has failed to make it big since turning pro but hopes that a win on the 9th April will set up a fight of his own against one of the Klitschko brothers. If he loses then he says he will retire... what a loss that would be to British boxing.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...