League & FA Cup draws: Man United & Chelsea have had the most home ties in the past five seasons

This week’s Carabao Cup draw has once again dragged up complaints about certain teams always getting the “easy” draws from the pot. But is there any truth to the notion that the Premier League’s “big six” get more favourable ties? A look back at the past five seasons suggests otherwise…

Excluding finals, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Spurs have faced each other a whopping 24 times in domestic Cup competition since the start of 2018/19.

It is also worth mentioning that since 2013, one of the aforementioned clubs has won almost every single League and FA Cup. Only Leicester’s 2021 triumph in football’s oldest knockout competition breaks the trend.

Of course, on the way to these finals, teams will play a variety of opponents. Which teams have had the hardest luck from the pot out of the big six, though?

Potluck: Liverpool have drawn the highest percentage of PL opponents in the past five years

*original draws, stats exclude FA Cup replays

Contrary to what many might think, Manchester United have received the most Premier League teams as opponents in Cup competition since 2018 (excl. finals). 22 of their 34 opponents in the FA/Carabao Cup have been fellow topflight clubs.

TeamOverall games vs opponent from division (2018/19 – 2022/23)Total
Premier LeagueChampionshipLeague 1League 2Non-League
Man City211344042
Man United22831034

However, it is actually Liverpool that have had the highest percentage of all Premier League draws. 68% of the Reds’ Cup matches have been against another Prem team since 2018/19.

Meanwhile, Man City have faced the lowest percentage of Premier League squads. 50% of their ties are all-Prem, although that is 21 games out of 42.

But what about the lower divisions? Well, Pep Guardiola’s side have taken on the most Championship sides in Cup comps, with 13. City have also had the most League 2 opponents in the past five years, with four.

Arsenal, by comparison, have come out of the pot against League 1 teams six times, well ahead of the other big clubs.

Now we know whose opponents appear the “hardest” based on league, which of the big six has had the most games at home?

Which Big Six club has had the most home ties from Cup draws?

*original draws, stats exclude FA Cup replays

For this category, we have excluded semi-finals and final Cup draws. This is because, in the Carabao Cup, semi-finals are played home and away across two legs. Furthermore, the FA Cup’s penultimate round takes place at Wembley. Both domestic comps then have their Finals at Wembley too, thus nullifying “home advantage”.

But that does not mean some of the rich clubs do not benefit from this in early rounds.

Since the start of 2018/19, both Chelsea and Man United have had 17 home knockout Cup matches. These two are ahead of all the other members of the big six. In fact, Chelsea can go one better than United, too – 63% of their Cup ties have been at Stamford Bridge. The Red Devils have been at Old Trafford for “just” 59% in comparison.

On the other end of the scale, Spurs have received the fewest home ties in the League and FA Cup. The North Londoners have only held eight of their last 25 Cup games in their digs – a paltry 32%.

TeamPercentage of home Cup draws
Man City44%
Man United59%

Elsewhere, Man City have had the most away games, with 19. This is in part due to playing the most Cup games out of any club within the last five years, 42 (excluding finals).

Is there any truth to fans’ claims?

Overall, we can see that the big six are more likely than not to get a Premier League club during Cup draws. This view is arguably skewed, however, as they are more likely to see other topflight sides as they advance through to later stages of the tournament.

That being said, whilst looking at the past few seasons, Man City have faced more lower division teams than any other club.

And what about home Cup draws? In this category, it seems that Chelsea and Man United have been more fortunate. They are the only two in the big six that have enjoyed more than 50% of their ties in the last five campaigns at home. In contrast, Spurs will likely feel aggrieved at the lack of Cup fixtures they have had in North London.

Featured image credit: Getty