UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Draw
Villarreal v Arsenal
Manchester United v Porto
Liverpool v Chelsea
Barcelona v Bayern Munich
There was a distinct sense of déjà vu about the draw for the Champions League quarter finals. Liverpool and Chelsea will yet again scrap for a place in the semi-final against the winner of the Barcelona and Bayern Munich tie. Holders Manchester United must get past Porto if they are to have the opportunity of an all-English semi against fierce domestic rivals Arsenal, providing the North Londoners overcome the tough challenge facing them in the form of Spanish side Villarreal.
Liverpool will hope to revenge the defeat at the hands of the Blues in last seasons penultimate stage. The Reds progressed to their triumphant fifth title in 2005 after winning a closely-fought two-leg tie with a controversial goal and also pipped the Stamford Bridge side to the 2007 final. UEFA have granted Liverpool’s request to avoid playing the second leg on 15th April which is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy. Chief executive Rick Parry said that he was grateful to the governing body for understanding the Merseyside clubs point of view.
Chelsea’s progress to this stage will engender hopes of gracing the final once again, this time with a more successful outcome. Guus Hiddink is no stranger to European campaigns and his sides recent upsurge in form will no doubt concern Rafa Benitez.
The other English side, Arsenal, also re-ignites an old rivalry as they face Villarreal whom the defeated to reach the 2006 final. Former Arsenal star Robert Pires will no doubt look forward to meeting up with his ex-team mates whilst Arsene Wenger is pleased that they are drawn away in the first leg and will enjoy home advantage for the decisive meeting.
Manchester United have probably the easiest tie having been drawn against Portuguese side Porto, former charges of Jose Mourinho whilst giants of Spain and Germany clash in the fourth match as Barcelona host Bayern Munich in the first leg.
The ties will be played over 7/8 April with the return legs the following week. The semi-finals will be played 28/29 April with the finalists being decided on 5/6 May.
Tags: Champions League, Liverpool, Rick Parry, Guus Hiddink, Villarreal, Arsenal, Manchester United