FOOTBALL: OPERATION EUROPE: PHIL GORDON'S GUIDE TO THIS WEEK'S ACTION AT HOME AND ABROAD

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CHAMPIONS' LEAGUE

LAZIO V CHELSEA

IT WILL be a meeting of minds at the Stadio Olimpico, with both Lazio and Chelsea supporters sharing a passion for baldies: while the Blues lionise Gianluca Vialli, Lazio's fascist Irriducibili worship Mussolini. However, it is the shaven-headed Juan Sebastian Veron whom Chelsea must nullify - the pounds 19m Argentinian midfielder is a refined version of Roy Keane - with a tattoo of his idol, Che Guevara.

MANCHESTER UNITED V VALENCIA

ANOTHER CHAPTER in the Anglo-Argentinian conflict: after gifting goals in Florence to Gabriel Batistuta and Abel Balbo, United face a more potent threat in Claudio Lpez: the Valencia striker is rated as Argentina's most gifted star and ruthlessly exposed Rangers' mistakes earlier in the competition. Equally dangerous are Kily Gonzalez, who has an explosive left foot, and the workaholic midfielder Gaizka Mendieta.

UEFA CUP

B0RUSSIA DORTMUND V RANGERS

SHUT YOUR GOB 1: Big-mouthed Borussia Dortmund striker Heiko Herrlich was fined pounds 3,500 last week for criticising coach Michael Skibbe, when Herrlich scored in a rare start, underlining just how divided the once- mighty German club is. It will need a display of solidarity not evident at Ibrox to overturn Rangers' two-goal lead. The Bundesliga defeat to lowly SpVgg Unterhaching does not augur well.

NEWCASTLE V ROMA

SHUT YOUR GOB 2: Alan Shearer will be advised to keep his distance from defender Antonio Zago, who has been given a three-game domestic ban by the Italian FA for spitting at Lazio's Diego Simeone. Roma are dangerous away from home, as they proved last season at Leeds, but it's not the Toon that interests the Italians so much as the city - Roma plan to follow rivals Lazio with a stock-market share flotation.

LEEDS UTD V SPARTAK MOSCOW

THE COLD war between these two seems even chillier than the temperatures in Moscow and after Thursday's trek to Bulgaria, it is safe to assume that Spartak, who lead 2-1, will get the frostiest Yorkshire welcome Elland Road can muster (well, they do play in Man Utd red). However, Spartak are renowned on the road - as Blackburn remember from a 1-0 defeat at Ewood Park in that ill-fated Champions' League campaign.

NANTES V ARSENAL

ARSENAL WERE flattered by the 3-0 first-leg scoreline which has put this tie in the bag and if Nantes had not squandered so many chances, the trip to Stade de la Beaujoire might have been less jolly for the Gunners. The top scorer Antoine Sibierski is the French club's main hope, but the young keeper Michael Landreau, another graduate of Nantes' youth academy, will be using the match as a shop window to win a move to England.

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