I’ve been busy with other deadlines—probably a good thing, as it leaves me little time to fume over the last game or confess how little I care about transfer rumors. I do think we need to bring in two or three players—ideally a hard-nosed defender, a creative midfielder, and a goal-scoring phenom that all the other clubs have inexplicably missed—but following the rumors and misinformation is just too damn tiring. I’ll wait for the official announcements.

Following Saturday’s disappointing 2-1 result against Sheffield United, a Championship side, I had the idle idea to look at Villa’s last ten years of Premier League finishes, and their last ten years of F.A. Cup results, to see whether there was any correlation. Answer? A little. In seasons where we finished higher, we tended to progress a little bit further in the competition, although there are exceptions going both ways.

American readers unfamiliar with the F.A. Cup should note that going out in the 3rd round is really like going out in the 1st—that’s the first round in which Premier League sides such as Villa join the competition. (And remember that the oddly named Championship is a league one level below the Premiership, yet above League One and League Two.)

There are plenty of disconcerting conclusions to be inferred from the stats below (for example, that the city of Manchester owns us), but I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. (Championship sides are in indignant italics)

2012/13 – 15th place – F.A. Cup 4th round (lost to Milwall 1-2)

2011/12 – 16th place – F.A. Cup 4th round (lost to Arsenal 2-3)

2010/11 – 9th place – F.A. Cup 5th round (lost to Manchester City 0-3)

2009/10 – 6th place – F.A. Cup semifinals (lost to Chelsea 0-3)

2008/09 – 6th place – F.A. Cup 5th round (lost to Everton 1-3)

2007/08 – 6th place – F.A. Cup 3rd round (lost to Manchester United 0-2)

2006/07 – 11th place – F.A. Cup 3rd round (lost to Manchester United 1-2)

2005/06 – 16th place – F.A. Cup 5th round (lost replay to Manchester City 1-2)

2004/05 – 10th place – F.A. Cup 3rd round (lost to Sheffield United 1-3)

2003/04 6th – 3rd round, lost to Manchester United 1-2