Foreign-Player Influence on FA Cup Finals

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Manchester United will face Crystal Palace in the final of this season’s FA Cup. ausinformer.com has analysed every final in the FA Cup’s 145-year history.

 

Manchester United will face Crystal Palace in the final of this season’s FA Cup, the oldest club competition in football, and one that’s become increasingly diverse as the decades have rolled by. As far as British tournaments go, the FA Cup is about as British as it gets, but how has the influx of foreign players affected success in competition?

Bettingexpert has analysed every final in the FA Cup’s 145-year history (134 finals) to determine whether a homegrown touch can have its advantages, or if overseas stars reign supreme.

Note: Native talent refers to players from the Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Foreign-Player Influence on FA Cup Finals Finals

Result

Total (%)

Winning Team Had More Foreign Players

28 (20.9%)

Losing Team Had More Foreign Players

11 (8.2%)

Equal Amount of Foreign Players

95 (70.9%)

History Favours Winner with Foreign Aid

After dissecting the starting XIs fielded in every FA Cup final to date, the results showed a startling favour toward teams who opted for more foreign players above a majority of homegrown talent.

It’s hardly a surprise to discover the involvement of foreign players has shot up since the Premier League was formed in 1992 and international transfer activity became more commonplace.

Specifically, finalists with more foreign players in their starting XI triumphed on 28 (20.9%) occasions and have lost only 11 times (8.2%), evidence of a massive difference of more than 200% between the rate of success. Only twice since 1991 have two teams fielded an equal amount of foreign players in their XIs—Manchester United and Everton each started one foreign talent in 1995, while Liverpool and Arsenal started with six apiece in 2001.

This growth throughout the 90s indicates how rapidly England’s use of foreign players increased.

Manchester United’s FA Cup Final Record

 

Win

Lose

Finals With More Foreign Players in Starting XI

3

0

Finals With Fewer Foreign Players in Starting XI

3

2

Finals With Equal Foreign Players in Starting XI

5

5

Manchester United’s Foreign Flavour

Crystal Palace have only appeared in one FA Cup final to date—where they ironically enough lost to Manchester United in 1990—but the Red Devils are veterans of a different breed.

Of the 18 finals they’ve played to date, United have won 11 and have boasted an advantage in foreign players fielded during three of those title triumphs.

However, United also happen to be one of those 11 teams—and the only club to have done so in the last 23 years—who have managed to win an FA Cup despite fielding fewer foreign talents than their opposition, doing so on three occasions (1994, 1996, 1999).

While underdogs Palace rely largely on players native to Britain and Ireland, big-spending United could field a team replete with overseas-born stars at Wembley—but will they be able to bring Louis van Gaal FA Cup salvation? 

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