The big games keep on coming for Manchester United’s young squad and there are few bigger than hosting Arsenal. The pair meet at Old Trafford on Sunday with a youthful United looking sharp and Arsene Wenger’s problems well documented. These are normally tight affairs but I expect United to prevail at 8/15 and to heap the pressure on the Arsenal manager.
Manchester City face an awkward tie away to Tottenham, although the 6/4 on Roberto Mancini’s side beating a depleted Spurs look decent. Third place Wolves will hope to continue their winning start to the season as they travel to Aston Villa while Everton look good value at 11/8 to kick-start their campaign by winning at Blackburn.
Nottingham Forest have a good home record and are 15/8 to beat West Ham in the Championship while Celtic are 2/5 to beat St Mirren on Sunday.
There are a couple of low key events this week ahead of the 130th US Open which starts on Monday.
Andy Roddick has endured a disappointing year and leads the field at the Winston-Salem Open. The brand new event also features Jurgen Melzer, Alexandr Dolgopolov and John Isner.
The WTA Tour is in New Haven with world number one Caroline Wozniacki desperate to find some form ahead of the year’s final Major. Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Marion Bartoli are also challenging for the $103,000 top prize.
There’s a decent field in Scotland this week as the European Tour heads to the site of the 2014 Ryder Cup – the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles. Eduardo Molinari is 40/1 to retain the Johnnie Walker Championship he won in thrilling fashion twelve months ago whilst brother Francesco is the 16/1 favourite.
Simon Dyson’s recent form has been good and the Englishman is available at 18/1 while local boy Scott Jamieson is one to watch at 40/1.
The PGA Tour playoffs begin this weekend at the Plainfield Country Club with the Barclays Championship. World number one Luke Donald is the 12/1 favourite while Steve Stricker has carded eleven consecutive top twenty finishes and can be backed at 14/1.
After England’s brilliant performances over the summer, it’s the finals weekend of one of our domestic tournaments that takes centre stage on Saturday.
Edgbaston hosts the Friends Life T20 finals with two fascinating semi-finals in prospect. Lancashire Lightning are the 8/11 favourites to defeat the Leicestershire Foxes in the early match while I expect a strong Somerset side to beat the Hampshire Royals at 5/6. The final will follow immediately on conclusion of the second game.
Ahead of the domestic kick-off in early September, there are two more international matches this weekend.
South Africa finally had something to cheer about last weekend as they prevented New Zealand recording a tenth consecutive Tri-Nations win and the All Blacks face another tough match on Saturday against the team most likely to stop them winning the World Cup: Australia.
Two teams struggling for form ahead of the tournament meet in Dublin as Ireland take on England. The 10/11 on Ireland prevailing in teh handicap with a three point deficit looks decent value.
It’s one of rugby league’s showpiece events this weekend as Wigan Warriors take on the Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.
Despite being two of the Superleague’s biggest sides, neither Wigan nor Leeds have played at Wembley since the 1990s. Wigan won eight successive finals at the venue between 1988 and 1995 but haven’t won the cup since their triumph at Murrayfield in 2002 whilst Leeds haven’t won the Challenge Cup since they thrashed the London Broncos back in 1999.
I have tipped Leeds since before the quarter final stages and I think they could cause a small upset this Saturday. Back the Rhinos with a 12 point start at 10/11.
The highlight of Saturday’s racing comes from Goodwood with the Celebration Mile attracting most attention. Strong Suit, Zoffany and Poet’s Voice are likely to contend for favouritism at the off.
The supporting card at Goodwood is also strong, with the Group 3 Prestige Stakes and the March Stakes also taking place on Saturday afternoon.
Newmarket hosts the Hopeful Stakes over six furlongs whilst elsewhere there is racing from Beverley, Redcar, Windsor and Cartmel.