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The Five Most Extraordinary Stats From The Weekend's FA Cup Shenanigans

The Five Most Extraordinary Stats From The Weekend's FA Cup Shenanigans
By Gavan Casey Updated

FA Cup (The Magic Of The) returned to our lives at the weekend in the nick of time, what with us briefly being in danger of the Premier League actually becoming exciting.

In fairness, football's oldest tournament produced some genuine shocks, not least Ali Al-Habsi's outrageous error at Old Trafford as Manchester United won their eighth straight game - their best run since 2009.

Pedro equalled his goal tally for all of last season as Chelsea eased past Chris Forrester's Peterborough, and Tottenham played out a proper 'background noise' fixture with Aston Villa, eventually seeing the Championship side off by a score of two goals to nil.

It was Arsenal and Liverpool's respective ties, however, which produced the most interesting stats. Here are five of the best from the weekend's FA Cup action:

Choo-choo, Giroud

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud has scored TEN goals in his last eight starts for the Gunners, including the winner at Preston in their 2-1 third round victory.

Giroud has started just six games in all competitions for Arsene Wenger's men this season, and has registered nine goals and three assists - the majority in his 13 appearances from the bench.

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Here's an idea; maybe start him.

[Opta]

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Late victory at Deepdale meant Wenger's men have progressed to the FA Cup fourth round for the 21st successive year.

What makes it more incredible is that Wenger himself has never lost a third round encounter; Arsenal's run began during his first season in charge.

Their last defeat at the first hurdle? Under Bruce Rioch, when they lost to Sheffield United in a replay back in 1996.

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Plymouth Ar-guile

Plymouth are just the second team in the last 12 months to prevent Liverpool from scoring in a competitive game at Anfield - a remarkable achievement born of a rather remarkable defensive display by the League Two outfit.

The last visiting side to hold Liverpool scoreless at Anfield? Well, rather unspectacularly, Man United. It was only like three months ago, in case you've blocked #RedMonday from your subconscious entirely. And who could blame you?

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Liverpool's home truths

Despite their ferocity in front of goal at Anfield over the past 12 months, Liverpool have in fact failed to score in four of their last five FA Cup fixtures on their home patch. [Opta]

Last season, West Ham held Jurgen Klopp's men at Anfield before squeezing past them at the Boleyn Ground.

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Two seasons ago, they drew 0-0 with Blackburn before bowing out at Ewood Park in the sixth round. That followed a stalemate with Bolton at the same ground in the third round.

A 0-0 snoozefest with Plymouth yesterday was their fourth at Anfield in three seasons.

K-Stew's one-twos

It was well documented following yesterday's game that Liverpool enjoyed 77% of the possession, including over 80% in the first half.

Less documented, however, was the fact that Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart completed 53 passes in the first half - as many as all 11 of Plymouth's players. Quite the feat on both ends, and a testament to how stoutly Plymouth were able to defend. [WhoScored]

Still, it's nothing on Celtic enjoying just 11% of possession and beating Barcelona 2-1 at Parkhead in 2012.

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