The Olympics may be over, but there is plenty of sport to enjoy. On Monday, West Coast Eagles and Melbourne play a crucial match in the AFL. Tuesday sees the continuation of the first round of the National Bank Open. Wednesday is the UEFA Super Cup, with Chelsea taking on Villarreal. After rain lead the first Test to be a draw, England and India are back in action for the second Test of their five match series. Friday marks the start of the new Premier League season, with Brentford hosting Arsenal in the season opener.
The weekend begins with the start of the Vuelta a España on Saturday, as riders compete in a time trial around Burgos. And we round out the week with Manchester City starting their Premier League title defence away at Spurs.
In the AFL, West Coast Eagles host Melbourne at the Optus Stadium in Perth on Monday 9th August 2021 at 10:10AM GMT.
West Coast find themselves with work to do in their third from last match of the AFL regular season. They currently sit in 7th place on the ladder, with a four-point cushion keeping them in the Final series. A win today would all but secure post-season action for the club. West Coast will be looking to improve on their first-round exit from the 2020 AFL Finals.
While Melbourne have already qualified for the Finals, the question remains as to where they will finish. By virtue of this match being postponed two days, Melbourne find themselves in 4th place with this match in hand. A win would take them back to the top of the standings, where they have been all season. This has been a historic season for Melbourne, who look on course to take their their first minor premiership since 1964.
The National Bank Open continues in Toronto and Montréal. Play begins at 3.00PM GMT on Tuesday 10th August 2021.
After being cancelled in 2020, the National Bank Open returns to the ATP and WTA calendars for 2021.
Rafael Nadal is the defending men’s champion. After not appearing at the Olympics, the Spaniard will be eager to return to his winning ways. His chances will be aided by the fact that Novak Djokovic, who has been by far the best player on the tour this season, will not appear at the Toronto-based tournament.
In the women’s draw, Canadian native Bianca Andreescu is the defending champion from 2019. Andreescu has struggled with injury since her breakout year in 2019 but looks to come back strong on home soil. However, she will have to contend with the likes of Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, and Coco Gauff if she wants to retain her title.
Champions League winners Chelsea meet Europa League Champions Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup at Windsor Park in Belfast on Wednesday 11th August 2021 at 7:00PM GMT.
Chelsea’s turnaround under Thomas Tuchel last season was rewarded with a Champions League title. Now, they will have the chance to take home some early silverware in the 2021/22 season. Thomas Tuchel will look to make a statement on his intentions for the season clear as they face the Spanish side. While Chelsea haven't made any major additions in the offseason yet (Romelu Lukaku rumours are strong however), their squad for the match includes many of their big-name players like Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.
Villarreal were arguably the surprise winners of the Europa League last season, as they took down Manchester United in a thrilling penalty shootout. They will once again look for the upset against an English side as they face Chelsea. Villarreal will be eager to start their season off right.
But which side will be victorious in Belfast?
England and India start the second Test of their five-Test series. Play begins at Lord’s in London on Thursday 12th August 2021 at 10:00AM GMT.
The two sides enter this second test having taken part in a draw in the rain-affected first Test.
It was very much a tale of two innings for England. They only managed 183 runs in the first innings as they faced a tough challenge from the Indian bowlers. However, they bounced back in the second innings, and a century from Joe Root led England to a 303 total.
India came out swinging in the first Test, putting up 278 runs in their first inning after holding England to a sub-200 total. KL Rahul led the scoring in the first inning with 84. While the rain delayed and eventually ended India’s second inning, there were positives. When rain stopped play, they were 52/1 while chasing 209, a target they would have been confident of reaching.
But who will take the series advantage in this second Test?
Newly-promoted Brentford host Arsenal at the Brentford Community Stadium in London for the first match of the 2021/22 Premier League season on Friday 13th August 2021 at 7:00PM GMT.
Brentford open their first Premier League season against fellow Londoners Arsenal. The Bees have made a handful of signings in preparation of their first top-flight season, most notably Frank Onyeka from FC Midtjylland and Norwegian international Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic. Brentford will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Sheffield United and Leeds United in having a strong first season in the Premier League after promotion from the Championship.
Arsenal will be looking for a rebound season after consecutive 8th-place finishes in the league. Arsenal have made three major first-team transfers, bringing in defender Nuno Tavares from Benfica, midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht, and, their big signing of the offseason, defender Ben White from Brighton. The question still remains if Arsenal can reclaim their place amongst the upper echelon of the Premier League.
A lot of questions surround this Premier League as a whole – will Manchester City still dominate? Or will a team like Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United, or Liverpool find themselves champions at season’s end?
The 2021 edition of the Vuelta a España begins with a 7.1km time trial in the northern city of Burgos on Saturday 14th August 2021 at 12:30PM GMT.
The ancient Spanish city of Burgos will play host to the opening stage of the Vuelta a España, a 7.1km time trial around the streets surrounding the iconic cathedral.
Olympic time trial champion, and defending Vuelta a España champion, Primož Roglič is expected to be both a favourite for the opening time trial, as well as a defence of his 2020 red jersey.
However, there are number of riders who will be competing for the red jersey. Australian Caleb Ewan, Germany’s Pascal Ackermann, and Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz are just some of the riders considered in the running for the red jersey ahead of this 3417.7km race.
Defending Premier League champions Manchester City begin their season travelling to London to face Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday 15th August 2021 at 3:30PM GMT.
Manchester City’s title defence begins in London. It has been a time of great change for Manchester City coming into the season. Sergio Aguero left after ten years at the Etihad before Manchester City broke the English transfer record as they paid £100M for English international Jack Grealish. However, with many of their Premier League rivals gaining steam over the past seasons, the question remains as to whether Manchester City can stay at the top of the league.
Under new head coach Nuno Espírito Santo, Spurs will look to get back into the title fight after slipping off the pace for the past few seasons. They had a quiet offseason, only bringing in a single player – young Spanish winger Bryan Gil. Santo was the manager behind resurgence of Wolves over the past few seasons, and Spurs will be hoping that he can help lead them back into the Premier League title race.
These two sides last met in April, when City took a 1-0 win in the Carabao Cup Final.
Honourable mentions around the world go to motorsport. It will be a big week for racing fans. Formula E is in Berlin for the final races of the season. The Speedway World Championship travels to Sweden for the seventh race of the season. Meanwhile, MotoGP remains in Austria after the Styrian Grand Prix for the Austrian Grand Prix.
It’s also a busy week of boxing. John Riel Casimero fights Guillermo Rigondeaux for the WBO World Bantam Title. Vergil Ortiz Jr takes on Egidijus Kavaliauskas for the WBO International Welter Title. And Joshua Buatsi meets Ricards Bolotniks in London to vie for the WBA International Light Heavy title.
There is also plenty of cricket to enjoy. Internationally, Australia’s tour of Bangladesh continues, as does Pakistan’s tour of the West Indies. Domestically, The Hundred plays its final full week of regular season fixtures.
With the Olympics over, the major golf tours are all back in full swing. The European Tour is in England for the Cazoo Classic. The LPGA and Ladies European Tours are both in Scotland for the Scottish Open, the last tournament before the AIG Women’s Open. Meanwhile, the PGA Tour is in North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship, the tournament before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs.
In rugby league, the NRL continues. The big match of the week is the 6th-place Sea Eagles hosting the 4th-place Eels. Meanwhile, in the Super League, second-place St Helens take on first-place Catalans Dragons.
Along with the Vuelta a España, there is plenty of cycling to enjoy. The UCI World Tour sees the running of the Tour de Pologne while the UCI Women’s World Tour is in Scandinavia for the Ladies’ Tour of Norway.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by Melbourne Football Club, Bianca Vanessa, Chelsea FC, England Cricket, Brentford Football Club, Primoz Roglic, Manchester City
Written and information correct on 8th August 2021 at 10pm GMT
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