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Arsenal and Liverpool are no strangers to Champions League disappointment in recent years, and whether they avoid an early exit from this season's competition will be decided on Tuesday and Wednesday in the final round of group matches.
Arsenal, with seven points, will advance from Group E to the knockout stage if they beat the already eliminated Rosenborg on Tuesday night at Highbury. The Gunners will miss the suspended Patrick Vieira and Lauren, and manager Arsène Wenger will have to rely on the inexperienced Mathieu Flamini, 20, and Cesc Fabregas, 17, in midfield and Justin Hoyte at full-back. Panathinaikos (six points) will overtake Arsenal if they beat group leaders PSV Eindhoven (10 points) at home and the English champions draw or lose.
There was good news for Arsenal on Monday, however, when their England defender Sol Campbell said he had agreed to sign a new long-term contract with the club. Campbell, 30, said only a few details remained to be finalised before completing a deal that would involve a cut in basic wages but give him security at Highbury for the next three or four years.
Liverpool face a more daunting task at Anfield on Wednesday when they take on Olympiakos. The Greek side lead Group A with 10 points followed by Monaco (nine) and Liverpool (seven). Monaco travel to Spain to face bottom-placed and eliminated Deportivo La Coruña.If Liverpool, Monaco and Olympiakos all finish with 10 points, Olympiakos and Liverpool will advance because they have better head-to-head records against Monaco. Liverpool will also go through if they beat Olympiakos 1-0 or by a two-goal margin.
Chelsea and Manchester United have already qualified for the knockout stage, whereas Celtic play AC Milan on Tuesday night in Glasgow hoping only to finish third in their group and thereby secure a place in the final stage of this season's Uefa Cup. Other big clubs going into this week's games uncertain of further involvement in the Champions League are reigning European champions Porto, who play host to former manager Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea team tonight, Real Madrid, Spanish champions Valencia and German champions Werder Bremen.
* Vijay Singh has been named PGA Tour player of the year for the first time. Singh, 41, ended Tiger Woods' five-year monopoly on the title after a season in which he won nine tournaments, including his third major at the USPGA championship. The Fijian also overtook Woods at the top of the world rankings and became the first player to win more than $10m (£5.2m) in a season.
British Open champion Todd Hamilton was named rookie of the year following his victories at Troon and in the Honda Classic.
* The new performance director of UK Athletics is expected to be finally named on Wednesday. Psychologist Dave Collins, who worked with the British teams that competed in the Sydney and Athens Olympics, is tipped to succeed Max Jones, who retires in March.
If the unheralded Collins is confirmed in the role, it will end a long search by UK Athletics. Six candidates were rejected or withdrew in October, including Keith Connor, the national athletics coach of Australia, and Charles van Commenee.
Van Commenee coached Denise Lewis to the heptathlon title in Sydney and Kelly Sotherton to a bronze in the same event in Athens, but dropped out of the selection race to become performance director with the Dutch Olympic Committee.
"The Dutch wanted me more and played the game to win," Van Commenee said at the time. "The Dutch told me, 'You are our best man, we want you', and they acted more swiftly. The UKA took too long."
That left former British triple jumper Connor looking a certainty for the job but he was rejected by UK Athletics. "They decided I wasn't the right person for the job and that's their decision," said Connor.
"I love the sport so I don't want to create a furore for UK Athletics. There may be issues that people want to raise about this process but I don't want to get involved in that."
* British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur was nearly eight hours ahead of the pace on Monday in her attempt to break the solo round-the-world record.
MacArthur is looking to shave off more time as she nears the Atlantic equator. If she crosses it before 4:30pm (GMT) today, she will be more than 16½hours ahead of the pace set by Frenchman Francis Joyon, who holds the record of 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds for the global trip.
MacArthur's website said her 75-foot trimaran B&Q was about 200 miles north of the equator and heading south, parallel to the west coast of Africa. She set sail from France nine days ago and needs to finish by February 9 to capture the record.
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