There have been ten FA Cup ties between Man Utd and Aston Villa and the respective histories of the two clubs, and the Red Devils have won eight of those encounters compared to just two victories for the Midlands-based Villains. United should enhance this record further when entertaining Martin 0'Neill's men at the Theatre Of Dreams in this third round match on Sunday.
An even more worrying stat for the visitors is that you have to go back to 1983 for when they last beat United at Old Trafford - they've not won at the now 76,000 capacity stadium in 21 subsequent visits. And current form suggests they have little chance of bucking that trend. Indeed, Sir Alex Ferguson's charges visited Villa Park on December 23 and served up a 3-0 beating to Villa.
The Premiership title is, of course, the core objective for Sir Alex, but with his side firmly in the driving seat, I reckon that the evergreen manager will be sniffing the alluring scent of a Premiership-FA Cup double, something which United have achieved thee times in a glittering history which has seen them lift the FA Cup on 11 occasions, which remains a record in itself.
The signs are, therefore, ominous for the Villains. If they expect to play an under-strength United in Lancashire on Sunday, they'll be disappointed. Fergie may opt to switch some players around, perhaps bringing Alan Smith into the equation, Heinze maybe starting in place of Evra, while Larson might get a first sighting in a United jersey. But any such changes will be almost like-for-like and certainly won't make Villa's task any easier.
The Red Devils' gung-ho approach can sometimes leave them vulnerable at the back - both Newcastle and Reading have managed to put two past Edwin van der Sar in their two most recent matches - but Villa, who will, incidentally, be returning to Old Trafford just six days later for a Premiership fixture, lack the requisite firepower to take advantage of any such ****** in the United armour.
Despite all of this, it's a knockout cup tie and cannot envisage Villa disgracing themselves - they'll give it a good go, that's for sure - but when push comes to shove they will be outclassed by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired United side that have been utterly rampant this season.