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Keeping Real's slim title hopes alive

Real Madrid
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FA Cup final restored to own day

The FA Cup final is to be restored to its own day in the football calendar and will again be played after league fixtures have been concluded for the season.

The decision means the 2014 final will take place on May 17, six days after the final Premier League games of the campaign have been played.

It will be the first time since 2010 that the match has stood alone - a change that has been lobbied for by, amongst others, the FA chairman David Bernstein - and it will now do so in future seasons.

In the last two seasons, top-flight games have taken place on the day of the final, with Arsenal hosting Norwich in 2011-12 and Aston Villa taking on Chelsea last season.

That dismayed traditionalists, who have long believed that the FA Cup final should - as it always did - take place on a day of its own.

However, for television coverage reasons the kick-off time will be kept at 5.15pm for a third successive season rather than reverting to the traditional 3pm slot.

Last season, Wigan Athletic lifted the trophy when Ben Watson's last-ditch header shocked Manchester City, but the Latics were relegated after defeat at Arsenal the following week.

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