There’s a potentially decisive weekend of Premier League football at both ends of the table this weekend. Arsenal’s title hopes were all but ended with their defeat at Bolton and Arsene Wenger’s side must now beat Manchester United at the Emirates. United can practically seal the title with a win and have a good record against the Gunners of late. Back United at 7/4 to win.
Spurs’ draw with West Brom may have cost them the chance of a Champions League place and only a win at Chelsea on Saturday is likely to be good enough for fourth place. Chelsea also have to win to keep their title hopes alive and can see this one out at 8/15.
Three teams struggling at the opposite end of the table have winnable home games this weekend. Blackpool can grab a vital win at home to Stoke at 7/4 whilst Blackburn can ease their relegation worries with a win over local rivals Bolton at 11/10. Wigan are 17/10 to beat Everton.
Mikhail Youzhny finally won the Munich Open title last year in his third appearance in the final and the Russian leads the betting for this week’s tournament. Stanislas Wawrinka and Marian Cilic are his leading challengers in the Bavarian city.
Novak Djokovic has won all of his 24 matches so far in 2011 and is the strong favourite to win the Serbian Open title in his home town of Belgrade whilst Robin Soderling heads the field at the Estoril Open. Alisa Kleybanova leads the women’s field in Portugal from Jarmila Gajdosova and Klara Zakopalova.
The Barcelona Ladies Open field was blown apart by the first round defeat of top seed Marion Bartoli so world number 28 Alexandra Dulgheru is now the highest ranked player in the draw.
The strongest field ever to feature at the Ballantine’s Championship heads to Korea this week. Lee Westwood regained the world number one spot after his win at the Indonesian Masters last weekend and is the clear 6/1 favourite to win at the Blackstone Golf Club.
Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter make the trip from the US and are available at 14/1 and 16/1 respectively whilst the consistent Miguel Angel Jimenez can be backed at 28/1.
Luke Donald is the form player on the PGA tour after five straight top ten finishes and the Englishman is the 9/1 favourite for the New Orleans Classic. I also like the look of Justin Rose at 20/1 and Steve Stricker at 16/1.
Reigning champions Warwickshire had a losing start to this season’s Clydesdale Bank 40 although there was no shame in their narrow three run defeat to Hampshire. The Bears host Leicestershire at Edgbaston this weekend whilst Surrey play Scotland at the Oval.
Last season’s runners up Somerset comfortably beat Nottinghamshire last weekend at Trent Bridge and play the Unicorns.
The top two in the Indian Premier League also play each other this weekend with the Rajasthan Royals hosting the Mumbai Indians.
The Heineken Cup reaches the semi final stage this weekend with two great fixtures in prospect.
Saturday’s tie sees a rematch of last years’ semi final with reigning champions Toulouse taking on Leinster. The French side had home advantage twelve months ago and Leinster are favourites this time around. Josef Schmidt’s side are in decent form and should be backed at 10/11 (with a five point deficit) to book their place in May’s final.
The second semi final sees Northampton host Perpignan and the Saints have a great chance to take a step towards their first Heineken Cup triumph in over a decade. There should be a passionate home crowd in Milton Keynes for this one and Jim Mallinder’s side can also overcome the five point handicap to win at 10/11.
After another couple of rounds of Superleague matches no team wants to take control over the league with yet more surprise results last weekend. St Helens are the new leaders despite defeat to Wigan whilst Warrington missed the chance to leapfrog the Saints after a disappointing 24-10 home defeat to Hull. Huddersfield could also have climbed to the summit of the table but were thumped 32-6 by bottom side Crusaders.
This weekend sees St Helens travel to Hull on Monday whilst Warrington can get back to winning ways by defeating Bradford. Castleford host Leeds, Wigan travel to the Crusaders and the Catalans Dragons play Huddersfield.
The highlight of Saturday’s racing is at Newmarket with the 2000 Guineas. Frankel is set to be the hottest favourite for the race since Nijinsky in 1970 and is the clear 8/15 favourite to maintain his unbeaten record in the season’s first classic. Pathfork is available at 5/1 and Roderic O’Connor at 13/2.
There is a strong supporting card including the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes over a mile and a half and the five-furlong Group 3 Palace House Stakes.
Elsewhere there is racing from Doncaster, Goodwood, Hexham, Uttoxeter and Thirsk.