Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea: Who gets the easiest FA Cup and EFL cup draws?

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The FA Cup draw rarely comes without controversy. 

In theory, Peter Crouch or Ian Wright picking names out of the hat shouldn't be a cause for anything but excitement, but fans can't help but resent certain teams who they feel consistently get a better rub of the green. 

Manchester City, in particular, are often targeted by rival fans who take issue with the lower-league teams they are handed in their runs through the FA Cup and League Cup each year. 

European draws attract even more scepticism. In fact, Sepp Blatter caused a scandal in 2016 when he claimed draws could be fixed by using hot and cold balls. 

But in reality, the FA Cup and League Cup draws are simply pot luck. That's not to say some teams don't get more luck than others, though. 

The Athletic have conducted a study on who gets the 'easiest' draws and it's included all 92 teams in the English Football League. 

They've taken into account all the domestic draws of the last 10 years and how far apart clubs were from their opponents in the table when the draw was made. 

Clubs were then given a score based on their 'status' - so facing a 'big six' side would earn six points, the rest of the Premier League five, a Championship side four, League One three, League Two two, and non-League points would earn one point. 

It's not an exact science, naturally, but it does make for a fascinating table.

92. Lincoln City 

91. Newport County

90. Morecambe

89. Salford City

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88. Crawley Town 

87. Barrow 

86. Exeter City 

85. Northampton Town

84. Grimsby Town

83. Luton Town

82. Burton Albion

81. Cambridge United 

80. Accrington Stanley 

79. Harrogate Town

78. Cheltenham Town 

77. Shrewsbury Town 

76. Forest Green Rovers

75. Stevenage 

74. Mansfield Town

73. Oxford United

72. Plymouth Argyle 

71. Bradford City

70. Carlisle United 

69. Wycombe Wanderers

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68. Crewe Alexandra

67. Leyton Orient 

66. AFC Wimbledon 

65. Oldham Athletic

64. Colchester United 

63. Southend United 

62. Tranmere Rovers

61. Portsmouth

60. Gillingham 

59. Port Vale 

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58. Swindon Town

57. Coventry City

56. Rochdale 

55. MK Dons 

54. Bristol City

53. Scunthorpe United

52. Walsall 

51. Rotherham United

50. Fleetwood Town 

49. Birmingham City 

48. Blackpool

47. Sheffield Wednesday 

46. Doncaster Rovers

45. Nottingham Forest

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44. Wigan Athletic

43. Peterborough United 

42. Preston North End 

41. Sheffield United 

40. Reading 

39. Hull City

38. Bristol City

37. Leeds United

36. Southampton

35. Blackburn Rovers

34. Bolton Wanderers

33. Barnsley 

32. Charlton Athletic

31. Derby County

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30. Leicester City

29. Ipswich Town 

28. Huddersfield Town

27. Brentford 

26. Middlesbrough 

25. Fulham 

24. Crystal Palace 

23. Norwich City

22. Wolverhampton Wanderers

21. Brighton & Hove Albion 

20. Watford

19. Millwall 

18. Sunderland 

17. Newcastle United

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16. Swansea City

15. Bournemouth

14. Cardiff City

13. Stoke City

12. Burnley 

11. Aston Villa

10. West Bromwich Albion

9. West Ham

8. Everton

7. Queens Park Rangers

6. Manchester City

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5. Chelsea 

4. Manchester United

3. Arsenal

2. Liverpool

1. Tottenham Hotspur 

Interestingly, the top six deemed to have got the 'easiest' draws are in fact the traditional Premier League 'big six'. That's partly because there are only five, rather than six, 'big' teams worth six points in the study who they can be drawn against. 

Tottenham, it appears, get the most favourable draws going back a decade. Jose Mourinho's side have certainly been thanking their lucky stars this season, facing Brentford (rather than Manchester Untied or Manchester City) in the Carabao Cup semi-final and being pitted against Marine and Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup so far. 

We're sure there's nothing more than good fortune in which balls come out of the hat - but it won't stop the conspiracy theorists wondering how it's worked out that way.

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