Sports round-up October 2011
The title race is warming up in the Premier League, the business end of the Euro 2012 qualification is approaching and there's the small matter of the Rugby World Cup final. Here's a look at some of the many highlights of October's sporting schedule.
Football – Euro 2012 Qualifier, Montenegro v England: 7 October (Sky Sports 1) Before qualification began Montenegro were dismissed in many quarters, but they've proved the dark horses of England's group - aside from their shock defeat to Wales. A point away to them will see Fabio's boys safely through to next summer's tournament, and with the recent injection of young blood and devastating pace into the squad it's sure to be a lively encounter. England traditionally take qualification down to the nail-shredding wire, but can they wrap things up early this time?
Rugby Union – Rugby World Cup final: 23 October (ITV1) The month-long carnival of rugby will all come down to this – but who will leave Auckland's Eden Park clutching the silverware? If the group stages are anything to go by it'll be a mammoth battle. Can the home team, New Zealand's All Blacks, win on home soil, or might England repeat their Jonny Wilkinson-inspired feat of 2003 and bring home the trophy? After their heroics against the Aussies, Ireland might have a say in who leaves as champions, too.
Football – Manchester United v Manchester City: 23 October (Sky Sports 1) It looks like this year's Premier League title race will be fought out by the two Manchester clubs, and on the 23rd they get their first chance to square up to each other since the Community Shield. With a resurgent Rooney and an impressive start to the season from Ashley Young, United will be hoping to send their cross-city challengers a message. Can Mancini's moneyed upstarts make this a blue day, though? With Aguero, Nasri and co it'd be foolish to rule it out.
Formula One – Indian Grand Prix: 30 October (BBC 1) A little moment of history for F1 as the sport rolls into India for the first time. All eyes will be on the Buddh International Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, but however excited fans will be about breaking new ground, the focus will be firmly on the race to this year's championship. After India there's only Abu Dhabi and Brazil to go, so whoever makes it to the inaugural Indian chequered flag will be that much closer to claiming this year's driver's crown.
Red button: Tennis – ATP Shanghai Masters: from 10 October (Sky Sports 1) It might not have quite the same allure as a Grand Slam, but the ATP Shanghai was voted World Masters Tournament of the Year in its first year, 2009, and its reputation has continued to grow. Away from the rigours and pressures of the Slam the players can express themselves, but that's not to say they're not as desperate to win as ever. With Murray, Djokovic, Federer and co all signed up it's bound to be an ace in the autumn sporting pack.
Best of the rest:
Football – Champions League: Marseille v Arsenal: 19 October (ITV1)
Boxing – Bernard Hopkins v Chad Dawson: 15 October (BoxNation)
Golf – Madrid Masters: 6 October (Sky Sports)