The Numbers Game: FA Cup

Mark Dawson looks at some interesting statistics from last weekend's FA Cup action

1. Surprised that the tie between Stevenage and Tottenham finished as a goalless draw?  You shouldn’t be. Both teams have yet to concede a goal in this year’s competition.  Add to that the fact that Tottenham have only scored two goals in their last five away FA Cup matches, and a draw was not too shocking,

2. Another factor that influenced the result of the Stevenage Tottenham game may have been the fact that Spurs playmaker Luka Modric didn’t feature. Modric has been in fantastic form again for Tottenham this year, and he has attempted more passes and crosses (1691) than any other top flight player this season.  Tottenham certainly miss him when he doesn’t play, they have failed to win in 63% of the games he has missed this year.

3. Stoke City defied the odds to overcome the first-half dismissal of Rory Delap and yet still emerged victorious in their match at Crawley Town.  Only 2 of the previous 12 sides who have had a man sent-off in the first-half have gone on to win the game in the FA Cup this season.  The other team were the mighty Fleetwood Town who defeated Wycombe Wanderers in the first round of the Cup back in November.

4. Stoke are certainly carving out a reputation for themselves as a Cup team.  Last year’s beaten finalists are again through to the quarter-finals of the competition for the third season running, and an away trip to Liverpool will hold no fear for them.  Stoke have won their last 5 matches away from home in the competition, keeping 4 clean sheets in the process.  Also key to their form is forward Jonathan Walters, who has scored 7 goals in his last 9 FA Cup matches.

5. One team not as good away from home in the Cup are Arsenal.  They have won only 2 of their last 7 FA Cup ties away from the Emirates, and have lost 5 of their last 6 FA Cup away games against fellow Premier League clubs.  Compare this to their home record in the FA Cup where they have lost only 1 home game in 33 under Arsene Wenger.

6. To rub salt into Arsenal wounds, they managed to concede two goals on Saturday despite Sunderland only managing one shot on target, thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s own goal.  This came days after they allowed AC Milan to score 4 goals with only 5 shots on target.

7. You may think that Everton would be glad of a home draw in the quarter-final, however this may not be the case.  In 4 of the last 5 years, Everton have been dumped out of the competition at their home ground Goodison Park.  However, Everton will be confident now that they have found form, and more importantly goals, they have now scored in 13 out of the last 14 matches, and have scored at least 2 goals in all of their FA Cup matches this season

8. With Liverpool’s home draw against Stoke City in the quarter-final, it means that they will have played all their League Cup games (apart from the two-legged semi-final) away from home, and all their FA Cup ties at home.  However Liverpool may not be impenetrable at home, they have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 7 home FA Cup ties.

9. Liverpool are relying on 20 million pound signing Stewart Downing to provide the service for 35 million pound man Andy Carroll this season.  It hasn’t worked so far. But better late than never I suppose as in Sunday's Cup game, Downing registered his first assist in his 30th game of the season with his cut-back for Carroll to score.  Carroll is not doing much better, it was only his 6th goal in 31 appearances this season with half of his goals coming in cup competitions.

10. And finally for my tenth stat subject, we look at the number 10.  Bolton have become FA specialists as they have lost just 1 of their last 10 FA Cup matches, the same applies for Martin O’Neill who has also lost just 1 of his last 10 FA Cup matches with Sunderland and Aston Villa.