Football: United join the high rollers in quest for European glory

The three surviving English clubs were given attractive but tricky ties in yesterday's draw for the quarter-finals of the European football competitions. Glenn Moore assesses the chances of Manchester United, Chelsea and Aston Villa progressing in March.

There is something appropriate about Manchester United being sent to Monte Carlo. England's wealthiest club has always seen itself among the game's high rollers.

Gambling, however, will not be on Alex Ferguson's agenda when United visit the Riviera on 4 March. A solid performance against Monaco will be his aim after United were paired yesterday with the French champions in the last eight of the Champions' League.

The other English representatives, Chelsea in the European Cup-Winners' Cup and Aston Villa in the Uefa Cup, were given equally wealthy Spanish opposition.

Chelsea play Real Betis, the club who have paid pounds 21.5m for the right to sign the Brazilian Denilson next season, while Villa meet Atletico Madrid, Leicester's conquerors and now home to Juninho. All three English clubs are away in their first leg. United and Chelsea are favourites for their respective competitions, with 170-1 being offered on a clean sweep.

United will be pleased to avoid the Germans teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, who have been paired together, Real Madrid, who face Bayer Leverkusen, and Dynamo Kiev, who meet Juventus. Monaco will, however, need to be respected. They may be watched by barely 10,000 fans, but the Grimaldi family fortune has enabled them to gain three French titles in 15 years, with a fourth in sight.

They lead the French league and tomorrow seek a record-equalling eighth successive league win. They have Fabien Barthez, the French No 1, in goal and John Collins of Scotland in midfield, but it is their forward line that catches the eye. Jean Tigana can choose from Nigeria's Victor Ikpeba, Thierry Henry, whose pace destroyed Newcastle in last season's Uefa Cup, and David Trezeguet, their new striking hope of French football.

Trezeguet is 20 years old, French-born and Argentine-raised. His Argentine father moved back to South America after playing in France but returned to Europe when Trezeguet was 17 to help his son's career. Paris St Germain rejected him after a two-week trial but Tigana needed less than an hour to be convinced.

Trezeguet is now seen as the latest candidate to provide the cutting edge the national team is missing. A confident player, he will welcome the chance to prove himself against United.

His club were less bullish. Their sports director, Henri Biancheri, said: "I think we've drawn the one club we didn't want to play, but we did not want Newcastle and we beat them so perhaps we can do the same. English clubs are always hard to overcome, but we must not be intimidated."

Martin Edwards, the United chairman, said: "Monaco are one of the two or three teams we would have picked if we had been given a choice. We are pleased."

With the World Cup just months away the tie will be closely watched by English and French police. Biancheri said: "Last year about 5,000 Newcastle fans came and there was no trouble."

Chelsea will be equally anxious about their trip to Spain following problems during their 1995 tie away to Real Zaragoza. On the pitch the match should be closely contested. Betis, who play in Seville, have Finidi George of Nigeria, Jarni of Croatia and the prolific striker Alfonso.

Real Betis said, like Monaco, that Chelsea were the team they wanted to avoid, but Villa held no such fears for Atletico. "It is a hard draw," Brian Little, the Villa manager, admitted. Remembering Garry Parker's bizarre sending off in Atletico's victory over Leicester, he will hope the refereeing is up to scratch. Elsewhere there is a rematch of last year's final between Schalke 04, the holders, and Internazionale.

QUARTER-FINAL DRAWS

European Cup

Bayer Leverkusen (Ger) v Real Madrid (Sp)

Juventus (It) v Dynamo Kiev (Ukr)

Bayern Munich (Ger) v Borussia Dortmund (Ger)

Monaco (Fr) v Manchester United

(First leg March 4; Second leg March 18)

Cup-Winners' Cup

Roda JC Kerkrade (Neth) v Vicenza (It)

Slavia Prague (Cz Rep) v VfB Stuttgart (Ger)

AEK Athens (Gr) v Lokomotiv Moscow (Rus)

Real Betis (Sp) v Chelsea

(First leg March 5; Second leg March 19)

UEFA Cup

Ajax Amsterdam (Neth) v Spartak Moscow (Rus)

Internazionale (It) v Schalke O4 (Ger)

Lazio (It) v Auxerre (Fr)

Atletico Madrid (Sp) v Aston Villa

(First leg March 3; Second leg March 17)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London