This week our statistician looks at Arsenal's record in FA Cup finals.
Arsenal will equal the record for all-time FA Cup wins, if they can overcome Hull City at Wembley on Saturday evening.
The Gunners are aiming for their 11th overall success in the competition - which would tie Manchester United's tally - when they take part in their 18th FA Cup final, also drawing level with United's record for final appearances.
The Club's first piece of silverware was the FA Cup, way back in 1930 under legendary manager Herbert Chapman. Arsenal's most recent trophy was also the FA Cup, in 2005. That year Manchester United were beaten in the final's first ever penalty shoot-out, after a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium in Wales.
"Seventeen of the last 21 FA Cup finals (81 per cent) have been won by the side higher in the league"
The last time Arsenal played in a Wembley FA Cup final was 16 years ago - a 2-0 win over Newcastle which was the first of Arsène Wenger's four FA Cups to date.
He is the only Arsenal boss to lift the cup more than once, and this weekend he could also become only the fourth manager in the history of the game to win the FA Cup five times, and only the second (after Sir Alex Ferguson) to do so since the start of the 20th century.
The Frenchman has won four of his five finals, and Arsenal have won five of their last six overall, missing out in 2001 after a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
The Gunners haven’t scored more than twice in any of their last eight finals, and indeed the 3-2 win over Man United in 1979 remains the only time Arsenal scored three or more.
In fact goals have been at a premium throughout Arsenal's history in the FA Cup final. They have found the net just 20 times in their 18 cup final matches (including the 1993 replay against Sheffield Wednesday) and have only won four finals by more than one goal.
Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three finals, and conceded an average of just 0.8 goals per game overall. They have never conceded more than twice in a final. Since 1980, all the players who have scored against Arsenal in finals have been England internationals (Michael Owen, David Hirst, Chris Waddle and Trevor Brooking).
Furthermore, Arsenal haven’t conceded the first goal in a final since that Brooking header in 1980.
The full record for finals is P18, W10, D1, L7, F20, A14. Should Arsenal win on Saturday, it will be the Club's 40th piece of major silverware (13 league titles, 10 FA Cups, two League Cups, one European Cup Winners' Cup, one Fairs Cup and 12 Community Shields) and the 12th under Wenger.
Most successful FA Cup managers
|George Ramsey||6||Aston Villa||1887, 1895, 1897, 1905, 1913, 1920|
|Thomas Mitchell||5||Blackburn Rovers||1884, 1885, 1886, 1890, 1891|
|Alex Ferguson||5||Manchester United||1990, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004|
|Arsene Wenger||4||Arsenal||1998, 2002, 2003, 2005|
|John Nicholson||4||Sheffield United||1899, 1902, 1915, 1925|
|Charles Foweraker||3||Bolton Wanderers||1923, 1926, 1929|
|Bill Nicholson||3||Tottenham||1961, 1962, 1967|
Arsenal go into Saturday's final as the bookmakers' favourites, having finished 12 places and 42 points above Hull, and beating them home and away in the Premier League.
Last season though Wigan beat Manchester City to win the cup, despite losing both league games and being 16 places and 40 points beneath them in the table on the day of the final.
However, that was only the second time in the past 12 years that the lower-ranked team on the day of the final has gone on to win the cup. Throughout the Premier League era 17 of the 21 FA Cup finals (81 per cent) have been won by the side higher in the league on the day of the final.
There are only three examples since 1993 of a team losing both league matches between the finalists, then winning the FA Cup, but two of these came in the last two years.
Looking purely at Arsenal's stats, the Gunners have gone into 13 of their 17 FA Cup finals as the higher-ranked team in the table, and have won on eight of those occasions, including each of the last three.
Regardless of finishing positions though, FA Cup finals overwhelmingly tend to be close affairs: there hasn't been more than one goal between the teams in any of the last nine finals and only three sides have scored more than twice in a final since 1995. Each final in the Premier League era has averaged just 2.05 goals.
Finals in Premier League era
|Year||Winner||Runner-up||League points (Winners)||FA Cup final score|
|2011||Man City||Stoke City||4||1-0|
Other Arsenal finals
|Year||Winner||Runner-up||League points (Winners)||FA Cup final score|
Of the current Arsenal squad only Aaron Ramsey has appeared in an FA Cup final previously - for Cardiff City in 2008.
Then aged 17 and six months, he came on for the last half hour of the Bluebirds' 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth at Wembley. Gunners old boy Kanu scored the only goal that day.
Mathieu Flamini was not in the matchday squad when Arsenal beat Manchester United in the 2005 final, while Mikel Arteta was injured when Everton reached the final in 2009.
So the club record for most FA Cup final appearances is in no immediate danger. That record is currently held jointly by three players - Ray Parlour, Pat Rice and David Seaman - with five finals each. Parlour and Seaman won four finals apiece.
Of those players who appeared in three or more finals, only Lauren (2002, 2003, 2005) has a 100 per cent record.
The 20 goals Arsenal have scored in FA Cup finals have been netted by 17 different players. Only three have scored more than once: Reg Lewis (1950), Ian Wright (1993) and Freddie Ljungberg (2001 and 2002).
The 14 other players who have been on target in cup finals for Arsenal are: Nicolas Anelka, Ted Drake, Charlie George, Alex James, Bob John, Eddie Kelly, Jack Lambert, Andy Linighan, Marc Overmars, Ray Parlour, Robert Pires, Frank Stapleton, Alan Sunderland and Brian Talbot.
In total 24 different players have represented Arsenal in the FA Cup this season, with Lukasz Fabianski, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla the only players to feature in all five games.
Fabianski has been on the pitch for all 480 minutes of the run, conceding only once from open play in that time.
"Giroud's three goals have come from just 94 minutes on the pitch"
Joint leading scorers Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have netted three each - Giroud's goals have come from just 94 minutes on the pitch in total.
Mesut Ozil leads the way in terms of chance creation (nine, at an average of one every 32 minutes) and he and Oxlade-Chamberlain have two assists each.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has taken the most touches of the ball (309) while Mikel Arteta has made the most tackles (14).
Seventeen-year-old midfielder Gedion Zelalem made his first-team debut in the fourth-round win over Coventry City, and even though he was only on the pitch for 19 minutes, he made an impressive 20 passes, 90 per cent of which were successful.
Arsenal have not left London at all during the run, winning the first four rounds at home, each the at the first time of asking, then overcoming Wigan at Wembley on penalties in the semi-final.
Arsenal FA Cup 2014 player stats
|Player||Touches||Tackles||Passes||Pass accuracy||Chances created||Clearances||Interceptions|
Arsenal's 2014 FA Cup run
|04/01/14||3rd||Emirates Stadium||Tottenham||2-0||Cazorla, Rosicky|
|24/01/14||4th||Emirates Stadium||Coventry||4-0||Podolski 2, Giroud, Cazorla|
|16/02/14||5th||Emirates Stadium||Liverpool||2-1||Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski|
|08/03/14||QF||Emirates Stadium||Everton||4-1||Ozi, Arteta, Giroud 2|
* after extra-time. Arsenal won 4-2 on penalties
Stats correct as at May 13, 2014
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