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United v Arsenal - Conspiracy?

Let me state that I am not a fan of conspiracy theories. I laughed when at the third round draw we had to endure that speculation about FA cheating to bring Villa and United together again, especially that it was clearly number 24 that came out of the 'hat'.

But it is disturbing now. Since the 3-0 win at Wolves in January 2006, United were drawn only Premiership opponents in the FA Cup. In order: Liverpool, Aston Villa, Portsmouth, Reading, Middlesbrough, Watford, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Tottenham and now Arsenal.

Oh yes. There was an air of inevitability as I saw Bristol being drawn against Southampton, Liverpool getting Barnsley... you had to suspect it was going to be one of the big guns.

The good news is that we play at Old Trafford. The bad news is that it's between the derby game on the tenth and the first leg of the Champions League second round duel with Lyon. I think Fergie will not put out a weakened side: on the contrary, he'll want to defeat Wenger badly.

But that's not the point now. The point is, is it possible that it's only a coincidence that United never get lower-league opponents in the Cup? Of course statistically it is. The odds on us playing top-flight team ten times in a row are pretty low but not impossible. And I'm still inclined to accept that it's only a coincidence but one can put forth reasonable arguments to prove the opposite.

There is much talk about the decline of the FA Cup, that teams do not take it seriously anymore. Amid all this the most successful team of the competition, the one with a worldwide appeal, keeps on getting tough opponents and play exciting games. Coincidence?

In the meantime, Chelsea will have another stroll in the park as usual, getting League One side Huddersfield, at HOME, for god's sake. And don't get me started on Liverpool playing League One, Championship and Blue Square South Premier sides (at least they regularly embarass themselves in the process). And there are enough non-Premiership ties to send Liverpool and Chelsea through to the semi-final...

But I am still one those side who say it is a coincidence, nothing else. We are unlucky, Chelsea and Liverpool are lucky (well, there's nothing new there...) and we have to keep on beating everyone.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 28 2008

Time: 4:18PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
i have no problem with having to knock arsenal out. we have to beat the best teams sooner or later so im ok with it
Report Abuse
28/01/2008 16:23:00

is it winner takes all? or loser wins the league...considering the extra matches to be played.
fran merida
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28/01/2008 16:23:00

yea but u still get plenty of penalties n rarely any given against u!! the divin tw** ronaldo (as good as he is he dives all the time) should be sent off every game by rights (a dive deserves a bookin) n as much injury time it takes u to score the winner so it aint all against poor old united is it??
Report Abuse
28/01/2008 16:30:00

as an Arsenal fan how do you think we feel? we only get prem opponents too and have done for about 4 seasons, and we have to play you away from home. its only chelsea that have non league teams all the way to the final. the only time we have drawn championship sides its still been a tough away draw at places like Sheff united and Burnley. we have not had anything like an easy home draw for years.
Report Abuse
28/01/2008 16:42:00

we've got the toughest draw as usual no wonder, though Arsenal aren't in a good situation now but it'll be a difficult game for both teams.
Star 3000
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28/01/2008 17:14:00

No problems there. Like rooneyisgod said "we have to beat the best teams sooner or later". Bring it on.
Warri Gooner
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28/01/2008 18:17:00

look on the bright side, we have the luxury of playing a formiddable partnership of carrick and anderson and preserve scholes and hargreaves for france.
Report Abuse
28/01/2008 18:39:00

I am convinced that Abramovich is putting money in the pockets of people at the FA somehow. How else explain the fact that Chelski get a free ride into the semis every year, meanwhile the Gunners and Red Devils are given so many hard ties?
Report Abuse
28/01/2008 20:00:00

You wont really need to worry much about France to be honest. I sas Lyon play Rangers this year in France and Lyon were terrible. One of the worst CL performances I have ever seen from them. I expect United to cruise past Lyon. Question here. Do either United or Arsenal care about the FA cup that much? It is good to win as much as possible because that is what a big club should do and its a minor part of the treble. But come May Im sure you wouldn't complain if United were the winner of the CL and the Prem whilst Arsenal only won the Fa cup?
Report Abuse
30/01/2008 20:29:00


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