Silverware, solidity & success on the road
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There is no need for home comforts in FIFA.com's latest statistical review, which reflects on a week in which Udinese, Barcelona, Birmingham City and Borussia Dortmund all thrived away from their own respective cities. Read on for all this plus a look at Marseille and Manchester United’s defensive excellence in the UEFA Champions League.

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days have now passed since Arsenal last won a major trophy, this after another opportunity slipped away in Sunday’s League Cup final. Arsene Wenger’s side had arrived at Wembley as hot favourites to end their wait against relegation-threatened Birmingham City, but a late Obafemi Martins goal allowed the Blues to end an even longer trophy drought. Fully 48 years had passed, after all, since the St Andrew's side’s last major honour, the League Cup of 1963, and they have spent much of the intervening time flitting between England’s top tier and lower divisions. Arsenal, meanwhile, now have the unwanted distinction of having lost more League Cup finals than any other team, having previously finished runners-up in 1968, 1969, 1988 and 2007. The statistics would also suggest that the absence of Cesc Fabregas was a telling factor. In the league alone, Arsenal have won 68 per cent of the matches in which their captain has played over the past two seasons and just 44 per cent when he has been missing.

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consecutive minutes of UEFA Champions League football have now passed since Marseille last conceded. L’OM’s goal has not been breached since Nicolas Anelka’s 28th-minute penalty sealed a 2-0 win for Chelsea in the teams’ second group fixture, and shutting out Manchester United on Wednesday saw them become the first French club to rack up five successive clean sheets in Europe’s premier competition. The drab 0-0 draw at the Stade Velodrome was perhaps predictable given that it featured the Champions League’s two meanest defences, with United the only other side to have managed five straight shutouts in this season’s competition. Keeping Didier Deschamps’ side at bay also enabled the Red Devils to set a new club record of four consecutive away clean sheets in the Champions League, although they remain three short of Ajax’s record of seven. Edwin van der Sar also reached a notable landmark, becoming the first United keeper to make 50 European appearances.

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was the average age of the Borussia Dortmund side that started away to Bayern Munich on Saturday, the youngest ever to represent the club in a Bundesliga fixture. Yet despite the youthful make-up of the team that faced up to Robben, Ribery and Co at the Allianz Arena, it was Bayern who were taught a lesson in maturity and strength as Germany’s runaway leaders secured a convincing 3-1 win. It was a landmark victory too, with Dortmund winning away to their great rivals for the first time in almost two decades, since a 3-0 triumph on 12 October 1991. Jurgen Klopp’s side have made a habit of winning the road this season, and Saturday’s win – their 11th from 13 away matches so far – means they have already equalled the record for a Bundesliga campaign, set by Werder Bremen in 2003/04.

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away matches without defeat have enabled Barcelona to equal a 31-year-old record, set when Real Sociedad strung together an identical sequence over 1979 and 1980. The Catalans, whose last away loss came on 14 February 2010, could now claim the record outright by avoiding defeat at Valencia this evening. Neither side has lost in their 18 fixtures so far in 2011, and Los Che go into the match protecting a nine-match unbeaten run at the Mestalla stretching back to October. However, their visitors continue to leave records trailing in their wake, with Pep Guardiola’s side having also now equalled Real Madrid’s 50-year-old record points tally of 68 (converted to three points for a win) after 25 matches.

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goals in a single Serie A match is a feat that only 12 players have managed over the past 30 years. Alexis Sanchez completed the dozen on Sunday in Udinese’s 7-0 win away to Palermo, joining some illustrious company in the shape of Marco van Basten, Roberto Baggio, Pierluigi Casiraghi, Roberto Pruzzo, Dejan Savicevic, Marcelo Otero, Marco Di Vaio, Vincenzo Montella, Christian Vieri, Alberto Gilardino and Nicola Pozzi. Sanchez also became only the third Chilean player to score four times in a foreign league fixture, following in the footsteps of Ivan Zamorano and Jorge Robledo, who achieved the feat for Saint Gallen and Newcastle United respectively. The 22-year-old's haul, allied to a hat-trick from Antonio Di Natale, served to inflict the worst home defeat of Palermo’s top-flight history and extend to ten matches Udinese’s unbeaten run in 2011.