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Favourable draw for United

2009-03-20 13:17

Nyon - Holders Manchester United were handed arguably the plum pick of the Champions League quarter-finals draw after being pitted against 2004 champions FC Porto on Friday.

For the second year in a row four English teams feature in the last eight with Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool also looking for a quick and comparatively easy passage to the semi-finals.

While 2006 finalists Arsenal were drawn to play Spanish side Villarreal, semi-finalists the same year, an all-English quarter-final will see Liverpool take on Chelsea at Anfield before travelling to Stamford Bridge a week later.

In the other quarter-final 2006 winners Barcelona welcome Bayern Munich to the Nou Camp before playing the second leg in Germany.

Sir Alex Ferguson's United went into the draw as the favourites to defend their title, although the bookies will be looking closely at the current form of Porto - and past statistics between the teams - before setting the odds.

Former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was coach of Porto in 2004 when the Portuguese giants sent United crashing out at the first knockout round before going on to win the title. Of the six matches the clubs have played in Europe they have each won two, lost two and drawn two.

Liverpool and Chelsea meanwhile must be wondering whether they are destined to never be apart in the competition.

Although they meet at an earlier stage this year, the Premier League rivals have met in the semi-finals in three of the past four campaigns with Liverpool claiming the bragging rights.

Chelsea won passage to last year's final, where they were defeated by United, after a 4-3 aggregate defeat of Liverpool after playing the first leg at Anfield.

In 2007 Liverpool prevailed 4-1 from a penalty shoot-out after the two-leg tie, in which Chelsea hosted Liverpool in the first leg, finished in a 1-1 draw.

Two years earlier Liverpool's 1-0 defeat of Chelsea at Anfield, after a scoreless draw in London, was enough to book passage to the 2005 final where they beat AC Milan after a penalty shoot-out.

Arsene Wenger will be happy at being able to focus his young team's energy on a non-English Premier League team, and the prospect of claiming an away goal in the first leg at Villarreal will have boosted his side's hopes of a making the semis.

The last time the sides met was at the semi-final stages in 2006, when Arsenal held on for a scoreless draw in Spain after claiming a 1-0 first leg win at the Emirates stadium.

Villarreal did well to make the semis that year and will be hoping to go one better. If the Gunners do dominate the tie, they face a possible meeting with United.

Quarter-finals

Villarreal (ESP) v Arsenal (ENG)

Manchester United (ENG) v FC Porto (POR)

Liverpool (ENG) v Chelsea (ENG)

Barcelona (ESP) v Bayern Munich (GER)

Quarter-final matches played on April 7/8 and 14/15

Semi-finals

Manchester United (ENG) or FC Porto (POR) v Villarreal (ESP) or Arsenal (ENG)

Barcelona (ESP) or Bayern Munich (GER) v Liverpool (ENG) or Chelsea (ENG)

Semi-finals: April 28/29 and May 5/6

Final: Rome May 27

AFP

Comments
  • kleave - 2009-03-20 13:39

    Ok ok so we have an easy draw but Man U will prove that we are the best by winning everything on offer this season.............OLAY

  • the kop (original) - 2009-03-20 13:54

    LFC VS UTD IN THE FINAL......

  • Shaheen - 2009-03-20 14:37

    The draw means little mind you. It's knock-out football and the team that plays the better over the two legs will go through... Remember back in 2004? United were on the verge of making the 1/4 finals, and FC Porto equalised and went on to win the Champions League eventually. Looking forward to the Barca v Bayern clash, as well as Liverpool v Chelsea (not saying anything on this fixture else I'll be branded for supporting Chelsea as a Man United fan.... you know how it goes around here). Exciting football ahead... can't wait!

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-20 14:46

    get past chelsea and barca first then talk!

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-20 15:12

    We "the kop" back up what we say.....

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-20 15:19

    UNITED ALWAYS GET THE EASIER MATCHES. YET AGIAN ???? NOT ONLY ARE THEY GETTING THE EASISET QUARTER FINAL THEY ALSO GETTING THE EASIER SEMI.

  • libo - 2009-03-20 15:20

    Now it is the survival of the fittest, Man U, you made me proud last season you can do it again, especially in the club world cup. It's time that we do it again coz we're the best.

  • the kop (original) - 2009-03-20 15:35

    Anonymous User 3/20/2009 2:46 PM---------> we fear no one my friend....we've beaten them before.........

  • Denzil - 2009-03-21 09:18

    The draw is irrelevant..At this stage its knockout football. Big Huge cup games. The underdog sometimes comes through its all about the moments...90 minutes. To win the cup whether you play the best team in the quarters or not is irrelevant...you have to beat them.

  • The Stretford Faithful - 2009-03-25 12:26

    Favourable draw what are these stupid journo's talking about since when has porto been an easy side to beat he's probably a scouser making excuses for united winning all the time i nwould never underestimate porto they are a good side and i think we'll have to work hard to beat them

  • Anonymous User - 2009-03-27 14:39

    Lets be honest liverool fans ,united are a much better team the liverpool . Even though we lost against you guys , the aim is to win the most trophies not just 1 game . Hopefully we play liverpool in the finals , so we can teach them a lesson again .

  • Anonymous User - 2009-04-06 15:42

    i am a die hard liverpool fan and come what may, we will take it on. Chelsea and Barca bring them on, we wont only take them out we will take the best, United u are a good team and have dominated for many years, but ur time is now up make way for the Reds again. United supporters watch closely and pay special attention to what LFC does from now on and one more thing, be sportsman and appreciate good soccer unlike our local soccer it is always a pleasure to watch english soccer

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