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United ALWAYS Get The Tough Draw…Unlike Chelsea and Liverpool

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? 

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Omar says:

    I agree with your assessments. Liverpool & Chelsea seem to be getting the easier draws although MU have the record of the most wins. They even did not take part several years ago. Do you think the FA are favouring these teams??!

  2. Colie says:

    How many times have utd got to the final in the same period. the further you progress in the competition the more likely you are to meet premieship teams, and to talk about being hard done by, try and do a stat on how many times you get a home draw I would say that’s close to the same percentages. And for tough draws check out your CL draw every year, piece of p1ss.

  3. Scott the Red says:

    Colie: 17 draws at home, 12 away. The missing games were semi finals/finals. So that’s 58% of home draws. So a difference of practically 20% between that and the amount of Prem teams we’ve been drawn.

    Read the article and you will see how many times United are drawn Prem teams in the early stages.

  4. Karim says:

    I cant believe you have written this article. How about this one – Liverpool and Chelsea play each other on a more regular occurence in the Champions League than Man U or Arsenal.

    Its a cup draw, pure fluke who gets drawn against who. Plus your at home so i dont see what the problem is. Id fancy any home draw at Anfield against any of the remaining sides, we beat you there in 2006 and would do it again.

  5. jsos says:

    the observation by STR is a good one, and its actually right around what i expected. I agree with scott though, that the prem draws help us. we step up our game with a better side so i’m pleased enough we got the arse. looking forward to the match!


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