Football: Arsenal face France's new power

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ARSENAL will have to overcome the new power in French football if they are to reach the final of the European Cup-Winners' Cup, writes Rupert Metcalf.

In yesterday's draw in Zurich for the semi-finals, the Gunners were paired with Paris St-Germain, thus avoiding the holders, Parma, and Benfica, who knocked them out of the European Cup two years ago. The first leg will be at Parc des Princes on Tuesday week, the second at Highbury on Tuesday 12 April.

PSG hold a five-point lead in the French league, in which they are eclipsing Marseille, Monaco and the rest. They are coached by Arthur Jorge, who led Porto to a European Cup triumph in 1988. In the quarter-finals of the Cup-Winners' Cup, they knocked out Real Madrid after winning the first leg in Spain. Key players include the Liberian striker, George Weah, the Brazilian international, Rai, and France's footballer of the year, David Ginola.

George Graham, the Arsenal manager, said: 'I know a lot of people wanted to see us meet Benfica again and I wouldn't have been worried about that prospect, or even Parma, although the Italians are quite rightly regarded as favourites. But Paris St-Germain is a great challenge for us.'

EUROPEAN CUP-WINNERS' CUP Semi-final draw: Benfica (Por) v Parma (It); Paris St-Germain (Fr) v Arsenal.

UEFA CUP Semi-final draw: Casino Salzburg (Aut) v Karlsruhe (Ger); Cagliari (It) v Internazionale (It).

(First-leg ties: 29 or 30 March. Second-leg ties: 12 or 13 April)

CUP-WINNERS' CUP FINAL (Parken stadium, Copenhagen): 4 May. Uefa Cup final (two legs): 27 April and 11 May. European Cup final (Olympic stadium, Athens): 18 May.