August Preview - Van Gaal to storm the EPL?
Get ready for the new football season!
The domestic leagues throughout Europe start their engines over the next few weeks, with the first round of English Premier League matches hitting our screens on Saturday the 16th. The Reds under Louis Van Gaal get the EPL ball rolling and it will be the first chance for some of the stars of the World Cup to show the fans all the skill and passion that made them the heroes of the summer.
Prior to the start of the biggest leagues, we get an early taster of things to come, as two of England's and Europe's heavyweights, Arsenal and Man City, clash in the Community Shield (10th). Both teams include players who fought out the World Cup Final and the excitement will be at fever pitch as they test themselves in the cauldron of Wembley and as an extra pre-season bonus, the UEFA Champions & Europa winners, Real Madrid and Seville, play in the Super Cup (12th).
After eight days of International action, the final three days of the Commonwealth Games are sure to include more thrills and spills and with hundreds of medals still to be decided, the battle for the Gold, Silver and Bronze will be as fierce as ever.
In a month of domestic and International group races, two of the summer's racing jewels, the five day Glorious Goodwood Festival (29 July - 02 August) and York's three day Ebor meeting (21st - 23rd) bookend another wonderful month in the sport of kings. York's Ebor meeting is known for excitement and entertainment and this year's renewal looks sure to maintain those high standards.
August sees the winners of the biggest early season races clashing, as they attempt to move up the pecking order. This is especially the case for the two years old division, who vie for prominence in the betting for next year's Guineas Classics.
McIlroy broke his Freaky Friday syndrome, as he led from start to finish to take the Open Championship in July. It was the young Northern Irishman's third Major and surely there are many more on the horizon. Could he double up in the US PGA?
The golfing world descends on the US this month, which starts with the Bridgestone Invitational, prior to the US PGA Championship at the spectacular Valhalla GC, in Kentucky. The fourth and final Major of 2014, the PGA (07th - 10th), won last year by Jason Dufner, who broke his Majors maiden, is followed later in the month by the Barclay and Deutsche Bank Championship. Both big events in their own right. The European and American stars, McIlroy, Woods, Rose, Kaymer, Mickelson and Co. will also have an eye on September's Ryder Cup
As well as the continued summer domestic Cricket programmes, England v India continue their five Test series with the final two matches, from Old Trafford ( 7th - 11th) and The Oval (15th - 19th). After a period of world dominance, it has been a torrid year for the Three Lions and they will look for a successful month to reinvigorate the team's motivation and confidence before the start of the ODI T20 series and after levelling the series with a convincing win in Southampton, this could be the month that the Three Lions display their world best form again.
After a glorious summer of quality back hands and volleys, the tennis stars take their racquets to America in August, as they prepare for the US Open (25 August - 08 September). The last Grand Slam event of the year. The roll of honour at Flushing Meadows in New York include all the kings and queens of the court. Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Nadal, Williams and Sharapova have raised the winner's trophy aloft in celebration.
Brit Andy Murray may have lost his Wimbledon crown, however, he has a tremendous record in New York and will be sure to give an excellent account of himself in his search for a second US Open.
The Challenge Cup is down to the semi-final stages and the last four line up could not be more enticing, with Leeds, Warrington, Castleford and Widnes set to battle it out (9th -10th) for a spot in the Wembley Final (23 August). Leeds always seems to make the biggest finals and have high expectations of another glorious day at the national stadium.
It's a quiet time for northern hemisphere Rugby Union, as the players prepare for early September, when the Aviva Premiership , Guinness PRO12 and French TOP 14 season start in earnest. The opposite applies to the Super Rugby season, as the Waratahs and Crusaders battle it out in the Grand Final (02nd)
The BDO has a busy month, with tournaments in England, Sweden, Japan, Australia and France, while the PDC players will be preparing for the World Series, which this year comes from Australia (28-30 August)
It summer break time and there is just the one race in August, as the hundreds of thousands flock to the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (24 August). Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg driving, have dominated the season, winning 9 of the 10 races to date and they will look to continue their sparkling transformation in Belgium. If the excitement continues from the last GP in Hungary, we are in for a feast.
Over the other side of the Atlantic, the MLB season continues at pace. They have passed the half-way stage and now the more successful teams will be attempting to cement their positions and gain the best play off advantages. Oakland start the month with the best win percentage.
It's still pre-season in the NFL, NBA and NHL, however with the Drafts done and dusted, training will be upped to the highest levels. The NFL, with their first week of games taking place in September, are the earliest of the three sports to start their 2014/15 season.