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FA Cup: What happened in Saturday’s fourth round?

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FA Cup: What happened in Saturday's fourth round? 2

Saturday’s eight FA Cup fourth round ties featured 25 goals

Cracking goals, memorable debuts, cheeky hints and makeshift changing rooms – there was plenty to digest on a busy day of FA Cup fourth-round action.

Saturday’s eight matches offered plenty of much-needed entertainment and saw five Premier League sides progress, after Wolves had managed to avoid an almighty upset at non-league Chorley on Friday.

But what else went on? BBC Sport takes a look.

Bissouma and Grimes stake claims for goal of the round

We were not short of goals during Saturday’s bumper day of FA Cup fourth-round action, the day’s eight ties delivering 25 goals.

Among them were some outstanding finishes, especially from Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Swansea City’s Matt Grimes.

Bissouma sent a stunning strike from approaching 30 yards into the top corner to break the deadlock against League One Blackpool, as the Seagulls progressed with a 2-1 win, while Grimes made it 2-0 to the Swans during their 5-1 thrashing of Nottingham Forest from a similar distance.

Who did it best? Decide for yourself below.

Two days, two games, one debut goal

It’s been a rather busy couple of days for West Ham’s Oladapo Afolayan.

The 23-year-old forward scored on his Hammers debut against Doncaster Rovers, completing a comfortable 4-0 win for David Moyes’ side just eight minutes after his 70th-minute introduction.

That achievement is all the more impressive given he played played 63 minutes for the club’s under-23s against Tottenham on Friday afternoon.

“When I came off [against Tottenham] I got told I was in the squad for today. I just had to go home and prepare,” said Afolayan. “All I can do is come in every day and work hard and pray I get opportunities and take them.”

The Hammers have had a rollercoaster run against sides from a lower division in the FA Cup, alternating between winning and losing in their previous seven such ties before Saturday. Their reward for a first fifth-round appearance in five seasons will be a meeting with either Liverpool or Manchester United.

Balogun’s hint as holders exit

Arsenal’s FA Cup defence was ended by fellow Premier League side Southampton in Saturday’s early kick-off, as Gabriel’s first-half own goal ended a 508-minute run without conceding.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta named two goalkeepers on his substitutes’ bench at St Mary’s, leaving no room for promising 19-year-old forward Folarin Balogun, who instead scored a hat-trick for their under-23s in a 5-0 win over Brighton on Friday night.

Balogun has scored seven goals in his past seven Premier League 2 games, and has two goals in five substitute appearances for the first team this season, but his contract is set to expire at the end of the season.

Soon after the cup exit on Saturday, the England youth international shared a clip of one of his finishes on social media, accompanied by a facepalm emoji, to perhaps remind Arteta of what he offers…

Rolling back the years?

It’s been a tough season for Sheffield United.

However, having ended a six-month winless run against Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup third round two weeks ago, and claimed their first Premier League victory of the campaign three days later, Chris Wilder’s side beat Plymouth Argyle to make it three wins in four and reach the fifth round.

At 34 years and 353 days, Billy Sharp became the oldest player to both score and assist a goal in an FA Cup game for a top-flight side since Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs did so eight years ago.

The striker’s contribution in a 2-1 win set up a tie against Championship side Bristol City next and kept alive the Blades’ hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time since 1925.

But Southampton’s progress rolled the clock even further back. That’s because Saints’ victory over Arsenal was the first time they have eliminated the FA Cup holders since beating Tottenham in 1902. They went on to lose to Sheffield United in the final. You never know…

‘No beers in the bar, please!’

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola had to make an unusual plea before his side’s trip to League Two Cheltenham Town.

Facing Michael Duff’s men, 72 places below them in the football pyramid, City made themselves at home in the bar because of Covid-19 measures, as the changing rooms at Whaddon Road were too close together.

Guardiola, with two Champions League titles to his name, took it all in his stride, insisting he and his players “came from Cheltenham” – that is, from their own respective humble beginnings.

He added: “Please, only I ask to Cheltenham: ‘Do not leave beers in the bar before the game! We will be delighted to change in the bar, but no alcohol there because we want to win the game and be in perfect condition.”

And a post-match celebratory drink was likely not high on the Spaniard’s priority list either, as City had to stage a dramatic late comeback to beat the Robins 3-1.

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