FOOTBALL – On Sunday Arsenal beat Premier League champions Manchester City 3-0 to become the first FA Cup winners in five years to win the Community Shield. The last FA Cup winners to beat the champions in the English Super Cup were Chelsea in 2009.
FOOTBALL – Arsenal can clinch their 11th FA Cup trophy as they take on Hull City in the final at Wembley on Saturday. A win would bring the Gunners level with record holders Manchester United. Arsenal have won the FA Cup 10 times. They have not won a single trophy since they last lifted the FA Cup in 2005. Click HERE to check out our infographic on Arsenal’s trophy hunt.
FOOTBALL – The Champions League final is not the only huge game taking place this Saturday. At Wembley, Blackpool and West Ham United will battle over a place in the 2012/2013 Premier League. We have pieced together some key facts on this matchup, which is said to be worth some 40 million pounds to the winners.
> West Ham United have not lost a competitive match against Blackpool for more than 40 years. On 2 January 1971, Blackpool defeated West Ham in the third round of the FA Cup.
> West Ham won both 2011/2012 Championship meetings, beating the Seasiders 4-0 at home and 4-1 away. West Ham United and Derby County are the only sides that defeated Blackpool home and away in the league.
> West Ham suffered fewer defeats (8) than any other team in the Championship this season.
> If West Ham prevail, the amount of London clubs in the Premier League will rise to six. The last PL season featuring six sides from the capital was 2006/2007. Since then, there have been five in each of the seasons that followed.
> The winners of the playoffs will bounce right back, a feat neither of the two has achieved in the PL era.
> Blackpool’s only promotion to the top tier (PL era) came by virtue of winning the 2010 playoffs. In the final the Tangerines defeated Cardiff City 3-2 on the strength of goals by Charlie Adam, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod.
> In the PL era, West Ham have featured in two playoff finals. In 2004, they lost 1-0 against Crystal Palace (goal Neil Shipperley) and a year later the Hammers defeated Preston North End by the same score (goal Bobby Zamora).
> 2011/2012 was a good season for promoted teams in the Premier League. All three (Swansea City, Norwich City and QPR) stayed up and that was the first time since 2001/2002 when Blackburn, Bolton and Fulham stayed up.
> Playoff winners have been relegated in the next season in 11 of 20 previous PL seasons. The highest PL finishes by playoff winners from the previous season are fourth (Blackburn Rovers in 1992/1993) and fifth (Ipswich Town in 2000/2001).
> Since the playoffs started in 1986/1987, the team that finished third in the regular season were promoted nine times, the team that finished fourth only four times. The fifth place finishers triumphed six times and the sixth place finishers five times.
> Whoever wins the playoffs will join five other teams that have been promoted via the playoffs on two occasions (Bolton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic, Leicester City, Swindon Town and Watford). The only team to manage the feat on three occasions is Crystal Palace.
FOOTBALL – Netherlands emerged victorious in a friendly match at Wembley on Wednesday, 29 February, earning them their first victory at the hallowed ground in 35 years.
> None of the 33 players that appeared on the pitch on Wednesday had even been born when Oranje last triumphed at (the old) Wembley.
> On 9 February 1977, the Dutch emerged victorious 2-0 courtesy of a Jan Peters brace.
> The brace was this time Arjen Robben’s, a former London-based employee (Chelsea), who curled in the winner after England’s Ashley Young had equalised in the first minute of extra time.
> Holland’s previous visit to Wembley resulted in the 4-1 rout at the hands of England, a result that still meant progress for the Dutch from their group at Euro 96.
> Their previous visit to the city of London resulted in a 2-0 victory for the Dutch in 2001 (White Hart Lane).