Football: Turkish trip looks sweet for United: European Football: Galatasary next for the champions, but England's other representatives face stiffer challenges in second round

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The Independent Online
IN European terms Manchester United stood apart yesterday, just as they have done throughout the defence of their Premiership title. A European Cup second-round tie with Galatasaray was a Turkish delight for Alex Ferguson from a draw which offered few other sweeteners for Britain's representatives.

Arsenal will find Standard Liege of Belgium a tricky proposition in the Cup-Winners' Cup even if the Gunners have rediscovered their best form by 20 October, Aston Villa should not underestimate the Uefa Cup challenge of the Spanish side, Deportivo La Coruna, while Norwich have the toughest task of the lot against Bayern Munich, three times winners of the European Cup.

It is United's first encounter with Turkish opposition in 37 years of campaigning abroad and the 5-2 second favourites will look to button up the tie and a place in the Champions' League before they head for Istanbul. A 'pleased' Ferguson intends talking to Gordon Milne, the former Leicester manager now in charge of Besiktas, about opponents who pipped Milne's team to the Turkish title on goal difference.

Standard Liege ended the challenge of Cardiff City in the first round and Arsenal's first Continental foray back in 1964. The '93 Gunners will need to show improvement not only in their present standards but also in historic trends. Arsenal have since twice lost to Belgian sides though they recovered a two-goal deficit to beat Anderlecht to the Fairs Cup in 1970.

'My mind goes back to those games,' George Graham, the Arsenal manager, said. 'Although we beat them in the end we lost the first leg 3-1 in Belgium and I suspect it is going to be as tough this time.

Norwich's pairing leaves them in no doubt that they have arrived in the big time. 'It's a tremendous draw,' said the manager Mike Walker, 'because they don't come much bigger than Bayern Munich. 'They have world-class players (Jan Wouters of the Netherlands and the German internationals Lothar Matthaus and Olaf Thon) and it really brings it home that we are in Europe.'

Villa's opponents, Deportivo, are currently fourth in the Spanish League after an impressive couple of seasons, and boast the Brazilian Bebeto to lead their attack.

Scotland's twin survivors have plum ties. Celtic face Sporting Lisbon in an intriguing return to Britain for the former England manager Bobby Robson, while the second leg in Portugal will revive memories of their 1967 European Cup triumph over Internazionale in the Portuguese capital. In the Cup-Winners' Cup Aberdeen will take on Torino who are currently third in Serie A.

The present European format could be altered for next season. Doubling the number of teams in the European Cup to include league runners-up is the latest change under consideration as, again, is the scrapping of the Uefa or Cup-Winners' Cups.