The sporting week ahead (07/08/11)

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The Independent Online


It's not often that "eagerly awaited" and "Community Shield" get to share the same sentence but today is an exception.

Manchesters City and United don't need an excuse to get serious even in a friendly and the winners will take an extra bounce into next week when the serious stuff starts. Across London it will be every bit as competitive when West Ham begin life in the Championship against Cardiff. Both clubs have new managers, Sam Allardyce and Malky Mackay, with a shared ambition: to win promotion at the first shot.


After all the excitement of England v India, let's turn our attention to the world's least popular Test series. Yes, it's Zimbabwe against Bangladesh in Harare. One for the connoisseurs.


Selhurst Park seems the place to be in the first round of the Carling Cup, which should see the first chapter in a whole new local rivalry. Crystal Palace fans have long held a deep suspicion of Brighton, so goodness knows what they will make of Crawley, which must be a good 30 miles closer to south London. Elsewhere, Leeds v Bradford should also get a few juices flowing.


The August international date has long been an absurdity. It is surely too soon to be dusting down the national flags with the start of the Premier League still three days away, but all four home nations are in action, with England v Holland being the pick. India will do their best to convince that they are more than cricketing rabble at Edgbaston. Lose again and they cede their crown of world's best to England.


The last time Rory McIlroy contested a major in the United States, the golfing world bowed down in amazement. Now he's back for the USPGA in Georgia with everyone wondering if he can conjure up a repeat.


Another day and another 2012 test event; this time it's badminton's turn with the BWF World Championships.


For years the race has been on to be the first crisis club of the season, but we can offer you two without a ball being kicked: Newcastle and Arsenal, who meet on the first day of the season. And how many Norwich fans thought their return to the promised land would involve a trip to Wigan?