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GARY LEMKE’S FIVER +2: Premier League title race set for blockbuster season finale, Usyk to face boxing Fury

This week Gary Lemke has a look at how a tense Premier League title race is set for an epic season finale between Arsenal and the defending Manchester City, while a heavyweight showdown for the ages will take place in Saudi Arabia.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mate Rodri during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

This week Gary Lemke has a look at a tense Premier League title race which is set for an epic season finale between Arsenal and Manchester City, while a heavyweight showdown for the ages will take place in Saudi Arabia.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone


If you’re a supporter of an EPL club it’s hard to be neutral heading into Sunday’s season-ending set of matches. You want either Man City to win the title or Arsenal. As a Chelsea fan, I would prefer City to – for reasons that the Gunners are London arch-rivals and because City, with all their wealth, are expected to win and it wouldn’t shake the world order. I’d feel very differently if I was a Man United fan, for obvious reasons. But here we are.

The permutations are: If City beat West Ham they win the league. If City draw and Arsenal beat Everton, the Gunners win the league. If both City and Arsenal lose, City win the League. If both draw, City win the League. Liverpool will finish third and Aston Villa fourth, while Luton, Burnley and Sheffield United are going down.


Speaking of who you will be supporting, let’s turn to boxing’s big event – the heavyweight unification title fight being held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For once, we have a boxing fight that catches the imagination. It’s Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk and it’s a fascinating contrast of styles. There’s no personal bias, but as a boxing fan I was raised on the adage that “a good big ‘un will always beat a good little ’un”. Both are unbeaten – Fury is 34-0-1 and Osyk 21-0 – but Fury is considerably bigger.

Usyk is the better boxer but Fury’s own skills are underrated. I just expect him to be coming forward more and wearing down the slick Ukrainian through sheer size and win on points. The betting suggests it’s flip-a-coin as to who you want to back.


Formula One’s travelling show stops in Italy this weekend for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix (aka Imola), and there will be a sea of red in the crowd as the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz will be cheered with unmatchable gusto. This is the seventh race on the calendar for the season, which already has that inevitable feeling that Max Verstappen will again be crowned world champion.

He’s won four of the six races on the calendar so far, but in Miami a fortnight ago he had to concede victory to Lando Norris. It made for a refreshing new storyline. The last time this GP was held was in 2022. Verstappen won them, beating Sergio Perez and Norris.

First place winner McLaren driver Lando Norris of Britain on the winners podium in the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, at the Miami International Autodrome.


Golf’s big event this weekend is the PGA Championship, although, by the time you read this, there will already be a snapshot as to what to expect come Sunday. The sport’s biggest “news” of the past week however was Rory McIlroy’s announcement that he was going to divorce his wife of seven years, Erica Stoll. He still had his wedding ring on when hoisting the Wells Fargo Championship trophy last Sunday, but two days later it was off. Tabloids had a field day.

They reckon the Northern Irish superstar “flirted” with Meghan Markle in 2014 and ditched his fiancé, tennis world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, in a three-minute phone call in 2013. That done, can we now get back to discussing what happens between the ropes, not outside. For starters, Xander Schauffele equalled Branden Grace’s men’s Major record round of 62, at the PGA Championship.


At the beginning of the 2023/24 season, jockey Richard Fourie had two goals: win the national championship and ride 300 winners (last season he had a career-high 58). The season closes at the end of July and Fourie could hit 300 this weekend. Hollywoodbets put up an R1-million incentive for any jockey to break Anthony Delpech’s record of 334 seasonal winners. Fourie will smash that record.

For me, he should be crowned South African sports star of the year, but he won’t. In a nation where we reward our rugby players, cricketers and footballers, as well as Olympic medallists, Fourie is ignored. Yet, he’s in an airport around the country most days, works almost every day of the 366 this leap year and will create history. I’m in awe.


We’re at the business end of the 2024 Indian Premier League, with the final round of league matches being held. Come Sunday night there will have been 70 of the 74 games completed, and the playoffs are next week, before the 26th May final. The Kolkata Knight Riders remain the betting favourites, ahead of the Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings (all based on the current log positions).

It’s been a competition dominated by the batters and Virat Kohli has scored the most runs (661) – despite his team Royal Challengers Bengaluru being out of the top four – while South Africa’s leading runs contributor has been Tristan Stubbs, of the Delhi Capitals, (16th with 378). He too is unlikely to be in next week’s playoffs.


There’s United Rugby Championship action (round 17 of 18), with the Bulls hosting Benetton, the Lions at home to Glasgow’s Warriors, the Hollywoodbets Sharks entertaining Cardiff and the Stormers away to Connacht … Cycling’s Giro d’Italia still has a week to go, but the outcome is basically already decided with Tadej Pogacar only needing to stay on his bike to win it …

In tennis, the last big men’s clay court event before the French Open is being played in Italy, but the “surprise” this week was that if Jannick Sinner (currently injured) reached the final at Roland Garros, he would overtake Novak Djokovic as world No1.

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