The week in numbers: w/e 22/5/11

Gilchrist bludgeoned 106 off 55 balls in a record T20 stand

206 – Australians Adam Gilchrist and Shaun Marsh recorded the highest partnership in Twenty20 history, as they put on 206 runs for the second wicket as Kings XI Punjab beat Royal Challengers Bangalore. Gilchrist scored 106 off 55 deliveries, while Marsh had an unbeaten 79 off 49 balls.

6 – Just nine years after their formation, AFC Wimbledon earned their sixth promotion in nine seasons after beating Luton on penalties in the Conference playoff final to gain a place in the Football League.

27 – Unanswered points scored by Leinster as they recovered from 22-6 down at half-time to defeat Northampton 33-22 to win rugby union’s Heineken Cup final.

2Mark Cavendish became the first – and so far only – rider to win twice at this year’s Giro d’Italia, taking victory on stages 10 and 12. He retired from the race immediately after his second win to begin preparations for July’s Tour de France.

4:20 – With six of 21 stages to go, Alberto Contador leads the Giro by 4:20. He is also currently first in the points competition.

André Villas-Boas - a treble-winning manager at only 33 (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

33 – Age of André Villas-Boas, the manager who led has Porto to a treble of league, cup and Europa League this season. He is the youngest ever manager to win a European trophy. The treble was completed with a 6-2 win over Vitória de Guimarães in the Portuguese Cup final yesterday.

10Sussex‘s Rana Navad claimed match figures of 10/161 – taking five wickets in each innings – as Sussex defeated Somerset by eight wickets in their County Championship match.

3Gordon Muchall (175), Ian Blackwell (134) and Phil Mustard (101) each scored centuries in Durham‘s first innings total of 587/7 declared as they beat Worcestershire by an innings and 25 runs.

46 – At the age of 46, Bernard Hopkins became the oldest ever world champion as he beat Jean Pascal on points to claim the WBC light-heavyweight title.

13 – Number of people, including four jockeys, who have been charged by the British Horseracing Authority with conspiracy to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice after a BHA investigation into suspicious betting activity on 10 races in 2009.

Warne retired with 1,001 international wickets

1,001 – International wickets taken by Shane Warne (708 in Tests, 293 in one-day internationals), who retired from professional cricket last week.

0.63 – In seconds, Sebastian Vettel‘s winning margin over Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish GP in Barcelona. Vettel has now won four of the five F1 races so far this season, collecting 118 out of a maximum possible 125 points.

40Real Madrid‘s Cristiano Ronaldo finished the season with a record 40 goals in La Liga, surpassing the previous record of 38 jointly held by Telmo Zarra and Hugo Sánchez.

43Deportivo La Coruña went down despite accumulating 43 points, the highest ever total for a relegated club in a 38-game La Liga season.

The Premier League in numbers

9Zoltan Gera‘s red card against Arsenal made him the ninth opponent to be sent off against the Gunners this season, highest in the Premier League. All nine dismissals were straight red cards.

Van Persie scored in each of his last nine away games (image courtesy of arsenal.com)

9Robin van Persie extended his own record of scoring in consecutive Premier League away games to nine matches in the 2-2 draw at Fulham.

5 – No team has conceded more own goals than Blackpool‘s five this season. Ian Evatt put through his own net to put Manchester United 3-2 up. Blackpool eventually lost 4-2 and were relegated.

55 – Blackpool scored the most goals of any side which has been relegated from the Premier League.

2 – Relegated Blackpool finished the season by repeating the scoreline of two of their three FA Cup final appearances. The 4-2 defeat against Manchester United (1948) followed the 4-3 victory over Bolton (1953).

14Blackburn scored 3 away goals in the first half of an away match for the first time in 14 years, since going 3-0 up at Aston Villa in August 1998.

Kalinic netted just five times all season

5 – Blackburn’s top goalscorer Nikola Kalinić scored just five league goals.

19West Bromwich Albion‘s 3-3 draw at Newcastle meant they conceded in all 19 away matches this season, becoming the first side in Premier League history to do so twice.

3 – There were 3 matches this season in which teams came back from at least three goals down – all of these involved either or both of Newcastle and West Brom. In addition to yesterday’s game: Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4, West Brom 3 West Ham 3.

17 – Somen Tchoyi‘s hat-trick for West Brom was the 17th of the season, a record in a 20-team Premier League campaign.

14Wigan Athletic, who escaped relegation and finished 16th, lost 14 league games in 2010/11 – the same number as Liverpool in sixth.

6Birmingham‘s relegation following their 2-1 defeat at Tottenham means they will be the sixth English club from outside the top flight to play in European competition. Millwall were the last (2004/05).

5 – Birmingham have been either relegated from or promoted to the Premier League in five of the last six seasons.

1,063 – Total goals in the 2010/11 campaign, a record for a 38-match Premier League season.

16.9% – Champions Manchester United had the best shots-to-goals conversion rate in 2010/11, while bottom side West Ham the lowest (10.2%).

25 – There were only 25 0-0 draws (out of 380 total games) in the season – a rate of 6.6%.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times@InfostradaLive and @StatManJon.)

The week in numbers: w/e 1/5/11

A double century for Trescothick

227Marcus Trescothick scored 227 as Somerset defeated Hampshire by eight wickets at Southampton.

5 – In the same match, Jimmy Adams and Liam Dawson became only the fifth Hampshire opening pair to share two century stands (136 and 181) in the same match.

4 – Number of quarterbacks selected in the first 12 picks of the NFL draft. Cam Newton was made the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers.

31 – Years between New Zealander Mark Todd‘s first Badminton Horse Trials win and his fourth last week. At 55, he is the oldest ever winner of the event.

52Lionel Messi scored his 51st and 52nd goals of the season as Barcelona won 2-0 at Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.

60 – In Schalke 04‘s 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had more touches of the ball (60) than strikers Raúl (28) & Edu (30) combined (58).

0 – Goals conceded by Manchester United in their six Champions League away fixtures this season – the first time any team has ever achieved this.

31Barcelona‘s unbeaten run of 31 league games ended with a 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad. The all-time La Liga record remains at 32, set by Real Sociedad themselves in 1979-80.

4 – All four Champions League semi-finalists – Manchester United, Schalke, Real Madrid and Barcelona – lost their respective league matches last weekend.

Westwood won for the second week in succession (image courtesy of rydercup.com)

2 – Lee Westwood consolidated his position at the top of golf‘s world rankings by winning the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea by one shot from Miguel Angel Jiménez, his second consecutive tournament victory.

93 – Number of points by which the Essendon Bombers led the Gold Coast Eagles (94-1) after the first quarter of their AFL match last weekend. This surpassed both the highest ever score (previously 81) and largest margin (71) after one quarter in AFL history. Essendon eventually cruised to a 197-58 victory, a week after Gold Coast had won their first ever game.

76 – Age of former British and Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion Henry Cooper, who died yesterday.

90 – Age of Ted Lowe, the voice of snooker to many fans, who also died yesterday after a short illness.

The Premier League in numbers

Dzeko finally opened his Premier League account

10 – £27m Edin Dzeko scored his first Premier League goal in his tenth appearance for Manchester City as they beat Blackburn 1-0.

2 – Both Chelsea‘s goals in their 2-1 comeback win over Tottenham would have been disallowed if video technology had been available. Frank Lampard‘s shot did not cross the goalline after being fumbled by Heurelho Gomes, and Salomon Kalou was offside in scoring the winner.

17Blackpool‘s 0-0 draw with Stoke ended a sequence in which they had both scored and conceded in each of their 17 home league games this season.

4Mikel Arteta missed a penalty in Everton‘s 1-1 draw at Wigan. It was the fourth time an Everton player has failed to convert a penalty in the league this season.

10 – Blackburn’s 1-0 win over Bolton snapped a run of ten league games without a win.

117Sebastian Larsson‘s goal in the 1-1 draw against Wolves came from Birmingham‘s first shot on target against this opponent this season, after 117 minutes of play.

1Nigel De Jong scored his first Manchester City goal in the 2-1 win over West Ham.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times@InfostradaLive and @StatManJon.)

The week in numbers: w/e 17/4/11

1Brighton and Hove Albion became the first team in England to secure promotion after twice coming from behind to defeat Dagenham and Redbridge 4-3. Victory put them 16 points clear at the top of League 1.

Raúl has now scored 71 goals in European club competitions (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

71Raúl scored his 71st goal in European competition as Schalke 04 defeated defending champions Inter Milan 2-1 to reach the Champions League semi-final with a 7-3 aggregate win.

10Real Madrid, who won 1-0 at Tottenham (and 5-0 on aggregate) are the only team to have opened the scoring in every single Champions League game they have played this season.

5Porto scored five times in both legs of their Europa League quarter-final victory over Spartak Moscow, Their 5-2 away win came after they had won the home game 5-1 the previous week.

6 – Kevin Na, a South Korean-born American golfer, carded a 16 at the par-four ninth hole at the TPC San Antonio course. It was the worst ever score for a par-four in a PGA Tour event in the US.

Watson hit an ODI record 15 sixes against Bangladesh

15Shane Watson hit a world record 15 sixes in the second one-day international against Bangladesh as Australia won by nine wickets. Watson finished 185 not out off just 96 deliveries.

1Gilly Flaherty scored the only goal of the game as defending champions Arsenal won 1-0 at Chelsea in the inaugural match of the FA Women’s Super League.

4Lewis Hamilton passed defending world champion Sebastian Vettel to take the lead of the Chinese Grand Prix with just four laps remaining to claim his 15th career Formula 1 victory.

210Varun Chopra scored 210, his first career double century, as Warwickshire scored 642 against Somerset, setting up victory by an innings and 382 runs.

20Essex lost all 10 wickets twice on the same day as Middlesex bowled them out for 115 and 215, and cruised to an eight-wicket victory.

2:04:39 – Time taken to complete the London Marathon by Kenya’s Emmanuel Mutai, the fastest ever run in London and the fifth fastest overall.

31Philippe Gilbert became the first cyclist in 31 years to win the Amstel Gold one-day classic in consecutive years.

El Clásico in numbers

25 – Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw with Barcelona was their first home league draw in 25 months (March 2009 vs Atlético).

20 – Barcelona were awarded a penalty in the Bernabéu for the first time in 20 years, since Ronald Koeman scored in October 1991.

Messi scored his first ever goal against a Mourinho side (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

12Lionel Messi scored his first goal against a team managed by José Mourinho, in his 12th such game.

1Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first competitive goal against Barcelona, in his seventh game against them.

1 – This was the first time Real Madrid have failed to win a La Liga game in which Ronaldo has scored.

23% – Real Madrid’s share of possession. It is the first time they have had less than 30% possession in a La Liga match in five years.

22 – The two clásicos this season have produced 20 yellow cards and two reds, more than any other meeting between two La Liga sides.

8 – Barcelona’s lead at the top of the table remains at eight points with just six games remaining.

The Premier League and FA Cup in numbers

3 – Aston Villa’s three away league victories this season have all been 2-1 wins against teams beginning with the letter W – WolvesWigan and now West Ham. They play at West Bromwich Albion in two weeks’ time.

Agbonlahor scored Villa

1Gabriel Agbonlahor became the first Villa substitute to score in the Premier League this season. Villa were the last of the 20 Premier League teams to register a goal by a sub.

16 – In losing 3-1 at home to Wigan, Blackpool have now scored and conceded in all 16 home league games this season.

12Chelsea‘s 3-1 win at West Brom means they have now won 12 straight games in all competitions against the Baggies.

101:48 – Time on the game clock when Dirk Kuyt scored Liverpool‘s equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Arsenal. Robin van Persie had opened the scoring in the 98th minute.

17 – Points dropped by Arsenal at home this season, one more than they have dropped away from the Emirates.

8Yaya Touré scored the only goal in Manchester City‘s 1-0 FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United. City have won all eight games in which Touré has scored for them.

23 – This was the first time in 23 competitive games this season that United have lost with Rio Ferdinand in the line-up.

1Stoke‘s 5-0 thrashing of Bolton put them into the first FA Cup final in their 148-year history.

2 – Stoke will now play Manchester City in the final on May 14th – the same day they are scheduled to meet in the Premier League. (The league game has been postponed by three days as a result.)

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times@InfostradaLive and @StatManJon.)

Arsenal find they do like to be beside the seaside

Blackpool 1 Arsenal 3

Taylor-Fletcher 52; Diaby 18, Eboué 21, van Persie 76

Arsenal rode their luck – escaping three strong Blackpool penalty shouts – but eventually emerged as winners as goals by Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Eboué and Robin van Persie punished the Seasiders’ attempts to hold a high back line. Victory keeps Arsenal’s faint title hopes alive, moving them back to within seven points of leaders Manchester United, with a game in hand.

The visitors arrived at Bloomfield Road missing the injured Alex Song and Bacary Sagna, and with Theo Walcott on the bench. They were further weakened when Manuel Almunia injured a knee in the warm-up, forcing a last-minute change which gave 41-year old Jens Lehmann his 200th Arsenal appearance.

Lehmann

Eboué – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy

Diaby– Wilshere

Fàbregas

Nasri – van Persie – Arshavin

Despite a poor recent run of form which had seen them draw their last three Premier League games, Arsenal came into this match with more points (26) away from home than any other team. Conversely, Blackpool had earned the fewest home points (15) in the division. Back in August, a Walcott hat-trick helped Arsenal ease to a 6-0 win at the Emirates, after Ian Evatt had been sent off in the first half.

A one-two punch

Blackpool had the better of the opening 15 minutes, as both sides sprung forward adventurously in search of the all-important opening goal. They forced two corners in the first three minutes, with Evatt heading the second one wide from close range. They also had a strong penalty shout turned down after Laurent Koscielny appeared to lunge in on Gary Taylor-Fletcher and make contact with player rather than ball.

Diaby started and finished the move which resulted in the opening goal (image courtesy of arsenal.com)

But the hosts were shaky at the back too, with the combination of Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie in particular carving them open repeatedly. The Holland striker had already fired a free kick over and miscontrolled a through ball when he provided the assist which broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. Diaby stole the ball from Jason Puncheon, fed Fàbregas in the centre circle and charged upfield. The Arsenal captain found van Persie on the left, and he immediately chested the ball down and rolled in a slide-rule ball across the face of goal to give Diaby the simplest of tap-ins from six yards. It was a fine counter-attacking move of a type which has been all too absent from Arsenal’s play in recent weeks.

Three minutes later the visitors doubled their lead. From a throw-in, Eboué played a simple give-and-go with Jack Wilshere before rifling in a fierce left-footed shot from 12 yards.

A shell-shocked Blackpool could easily have found the game out of reach before half-time. First van Persie was foiled by Richard Kingson. Then Samir Nasri saw one shot stopped and another strike a post within seconds of each other. After van Persie had rounded Kingson, Diaby dithered on the ball allowing Stephen Crainey to get in a saving tackle. And finally Wilshere, played in by Nasri, nearly lobbed the keeper with an angled chip. And yet they nearly went in at the interval just one down, as Fàbregas had to hack the ball off his own goalline after a goalmouth scramble.

A major wobble before van Persie steadies the ship

The second half started in the same vein as the first, with Blackpool dangerous in attack. Varney side-footed an early chance wide from close range, but a goal was not long in coming. Blackpool broke quickly after referee Lee Mason played a good advantage in midfield. Puncheon played in D J Campbell as Eboué allowed him to run across him and Gaël Clichy played him onside. Lehmann, charging off his line, appeared to bring down the Blackpool striker with a foul reminiscent of the one which resulted in his dismissal in the 2006 Champions League final. Mason again waved play on as the ball broke to Taylor-Fletcher, who steered it into the open goal. Had he not scored, the veteran keeper would most likely have been dismissed – and Arsenal did not have a backup available on the bench. The goal meant Blackpool maintained their record of having both scored and conceded in all 15 of their league home games this season.

Koscielny was twice lucky not to concede penalties for tackles on Taylor-Fletcher (image courtesy of arsenal.com)

Having conceded a goal – not for the first time this season – to an opponent’s first shot on target in the game, Arsenal promptly went to pieces for the next ten minutes. Simple passes were misplaced and a noticeable hesitancy crept into their defending. Barely a minute after scoring, Taylor-Fletcher was again brought down in the box by Koscielny after a sloppy pass by Eboué. It looked a clear penalty – but Mason waved away the subsequent appeal. Keith Southern then headed wide from close range as Arsenal’s defence again went AWOL.

Arsène Wenger brought on Walcott for the ineffective Andrey Arshavin, and the change coincided with a steadying of the visitors’ nerve. Van Persie dragged another good opportunity wide of Kingson’s far post as Arsenal started to assert their passing game again.

And the visitors were definitely in the ascendancy again when they hit Blackpool with a classic sucker punch for the decisive third goal. It started in their own penalty area with Sébastien Squillaci making a critical tackle. Diaby then held off the close attentions of Puncheon on the edge of the box before turning and chipping the ball forward to Fàbregas, who volleyed the ball on first time for the unmarked Walcott. The England winger charged down the flank before rolling the perfect pass into the path of van Persie, who made no mistake from 12 yards. It was van Persie’s 12th league goal of the campaign – all of which have been scored since the New Year, and marked his best ever return for a single season.

The goal essentially killed the game as a contest, although there was still time for Lehmann to make a decisive contribution. Clichy, facing his own goal, dawdled in possession and was robbed by Taylor-Fletcher, but the 41-year old belied his age to come out quickly and deny Campbell.

As performances go, it was less than perfect, but a first league win since February 23rd (1-0 versus Stoke) was welcome nonetheless.

Post-match reaction and analysis

Arsène Wenger was much more positive about his team’s performance than he had been after last week’s 0-0 draw with Blackburn:

I knew that, at 2-0, they would not give up. We missed some chances in the first half and, at 2-1, we had a little nervy period. Making it 3-1 killed the game because they had given a lot.

I think it was a good performance because we had a good response to the flat game last Sunday. What people forget is that we are on a long unbeaten run, even if we had not won recently. But it was important to get a win.

He claimed not to have been worried about Lehmann’s late inclusion in the starting line-up:

I was not concerned because I replaced a good goalkeeper with a good goalkeeper. The only concern was not having a goalkeeper on the bench anymore. If something had happened to Jens, because he had not played for a long time, we would have had a problem.

As for Arsenal’s prospects in the run-in, he said:

Today, only three points would help us keep our chances [alive]. We have promised ourselves to give everything until the end of the season. There are still seven games left and that is a long time.

Although there were still plenty of worrying aspects to Arsenal’s performances, there were at least plenty of positives to take out of the game. Up front, van Persie’s intelligent movement ran the Blackpool defence ragged, and with a surer first touch could have finished with a hat-trick. Fàbregas, for the first time since his return from injury, looked a threat whenever he had time on the ball. Diaby had one of his better games, although he remains a liability defensively with his lack of positional awareness and slowness of thought. And Wilshere, despite being on the receiving end of several bruising tackles, kept his temper and was a constant threat either giving or receiving the ball. Arshavin had a quiet game, but Nasri was industrious and unlucky not to break his scoring drought, while Walcott terrorised Blackpool’s defence after he came on.

Defensively, the less said the better. Koscielny was twice guilty of lunging in unnecessarily, and was extremely lucky not to concede penalties on both occasions. That Eboué is a weak link comes as no surprise, but Clichy’s moment of complete brain-fade was something we have seen too often from the left back. Lehmann, his foul on Campbell aside, had little to do but did it well, generally commanding his area and organising his defence vocally and with authority. The reflexes may not be what they were, but he is still a leader.

31 down, seven to go. If Arsenal are to make a fist of the title race, they will have to do it the hard way. Next up is a home game against Liverpool, followed by Tottenham and Bolton away, Manchester United at home and Stoke away. The odds are certainly against them, but who knows what might yet happen in this most unpredictable of seasons?

The week in numbers: w/e 13/2/11

Clijsters has regained the number one ranking

1 – Despite losing the Paris Open final to Petra KvitovaKim Clijsters has regained the number one ranking in women’s tennis for the first time since March 2006, before her initial retirement from the sport.

4 – Chris Ashton becomes the first England player to score four tries in a Five/Six Nations match since 1914, as Italy were routed 59-13 at Twickenham.

16 – A 1-1 draw at Sporting Gijon ended Barcelona‘s run of 16 consecutive La Liga wins.

91 – Goalkeeper Iker Casillas was sent off after just 91 seconds at Espanyol last night, but Real Madrid still won 1-0. It was the earliest red card ever received by a Madrid player in La Liga history.

1 – Australia’s Mark Renshaw, more commonly employed as Mark Cavendish‘s lead-out man, won the first stage race of his career at the Tour of Qatar, beating Heinrich Haussler by eight seconds.

2Elisabeth Görgl added the downhill title to her super-G win at the World Alpine Championships. The 29-year old Austrian had never previously won a top-level downhill.

2 – Two horses died in the paddock at Newbury on Saturday. It is thought they may have been electrocuted by underground cabling. The meeting was abandoned.

The Premier League week in numbers

Rooney remains an Old Trafford lucky charm

41Wayne Rooney scored the winner as Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-1 at Old Trafford. United have won all 41 home league games in which Rooney has scored.

10Robin van Persie scored both goals in Arsenal‘s 2-0 win over Wolves, giving him ten goals already in 2011. He is the first Premier League player to reach that milestone in the first two months of a calendar year.

24West Bromwich Albion‘s run of games without a clean sheet extended to 24 as they threw away a 3-0 lead at home to West Ham, drawing 3-3.

5Blackpool‘s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa ended a run of five consecutive league defeats.

61Everton lost 2-0 at Bolton. They have now failed their last 61 away matches in which they have trailed at halftime, dating back to September 2000.

(Some statistics courtesy of Opta Sports, The Times@InfostradaLive and @StatManJon.)

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