Chelsea FA Cup Final 2000After United were drawn against Arsenal in the 5th Round of the FA, I was curious to see just how many times we’ve had to play Premiership opposition over recent years. It feels as though we always get the tough draws and I wanted to see how true that intuition was.

It turned out to be rather accurate, as I wrote about earlier this week. In the past ten years, including the teams we’ve been picked out to play so far this season, United have seen a massive 77% of our opposition in the FA Cup coming from the Premiership. As I said in the original article, United fans should be glad of the tough draws though, as they tend to favour our style and mentality. Burton Albion and Exeter forced United in to replays over the past few years, whereas the likes of Premiership sides Middlesbrough and Villa have seen us progress in to the next round six times in the past ten years.

In contrast, in the same time period, Arsenal have faced Premiership opposition 61% of the time. Stating this comparison left several posters questioning the draws of Liverpool and Chelsea, who appear to be handed the easier draws more often than not.

1997-1998: Coventry
1998-1999: Port Vale, United
1999-2000: Huddersfield, Blackburn
2000-2001: Rotherham, Leeds, City, Tranmere, Wycombe, Arsenal
2001-2002: Birmingham, Arsenal
2002-2003: City, Crystal Palace
2003-2004: Yeovil, Newcastle, Portsmouth
2004-2005: Burnley
2005-2006: Luton, Portsmouth, United, Birmingham, Chelsea, West Ham
2006-2007: Arsenal
2007-2008: Luton, Havant & Waterlooville, Barnsley

Liverpool have been drawn 29 times in the Cup, facing Premiership opposition on 16 occasions, meaning they’ve played against top flight teams 55% of the time.

1997-1998: United
1998-1999: Oldham, Sheffield Wednesday, United
1999-2000: Hull, Nottingham Forest, Leicester, Gillingham, Newcastle, Villa,
2000-2001: Peterborough, Gillingham, Arsenal
2001-2002: Norwich, West Ham, Preston NE, Spurs, Fulham, Arsenal
2002-2003: Boro, Shrewsbury, Stoke, Arsenal
2003-2004: Watford, Scarborough, Arsenal
2004-2005: Scunthorpe, Birmingham, Newcastle
2005-2006: Huddersfield, Everton, Colchester, Newcastle, Liverpool
2006-2007: Macclesfield, Nottingham Forest, Norwich, Spurs, Blackburn, United
2007-2008: QPR, Wigan, Huddersfield

In the same period of time, Chelsea have been draw 43 times over the past ten years, 22 of those times against Premiership teams, meaning they have faced Premiership opposition just 51% of the time.

Just what you expected?