Champions League draw
Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Rangers now know who they will face in the UEFA Champions League group stage.
Thursday's draw in Monaco has thrown up some intriguing ties, with the best sides on the continent all set to slug it out in pursuit of European football's most prestigious prize.
Manchester United, finalists in two of the last three years, have been drawn into Group C where they will face a Battle of Britain encounter against SPL champions Rangers, a tough test against Spanish giants Valencia and Turkish debutants Bursaspor.
Chelsea, who are looking to take the crown for the first time in their history, are set to face French title holders Marseille in Group F, while they will also make the long trip to owner Roman Abramovich's homeland of Russia to face Spartak Moscow and to Slovakia to take on MSK Zilina.
The draw was relatively kind to Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, as they were placed alongside Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic's qualifier conquerors Braga and FK Partizan in Group H.
Tottenham's Champions League bow pits them against reigning European champions Inter Milan, which will have whet the appetite in North London, while they will also take on Werder Bremen and FC Twente as they seek to secure a safe passage through Group A.
Jose Mourinho, who landed the prize with Inter Milan last season, will be hoping to help Real Madrid return to the top of the pile, but must make his way past AC Milan, Ajax (who have taken the trophy on 11 occasions between them) and Auxerre if he is to do so.
Barcelona, the pre-tournament favourites, will fancy their chances of topping Group D, having been drawn alongside Panathinaikos, FC Copenhagen and Rubin Kazan, for the second year in a row.
Four-time winners Bayern Munich will be looking to go one better than last year, when they came unstuck in the final, and will face Italian side Roma, Swiss outfit FC Basel and Romanian minnows CFR Cluj in Group E.
Lyon made it all the way to the semi-finals last season and will have high hopes of reaching the knockout stages once again as they prepare to tackle Benfica, Schalke and Hapoel Tel-Aviv in Group B.
The first round of matches in the group stage will take place on 14th and 15th September, as 32 sides set out on a road they hope will lead all the way to the final at Wembley on 28th May, 2011.
Latest Forum Comments
Latest on strike is that: - it is going ahead but may not affect airports - game def won;t get moved - there will not be public transport on day of game I have booked another flight for Tuesday afternoon just to be safe, which means if anyone wants my Wednesday one they can have it from easyjet for the £25 change feee plus the £30 I paid for it. If the flight is cancelled due to the strike they let you move flight for free or you get a full refund.- Oli
Hopefully i should be ok. Fly out on the Monday and come back Thursday. Only problems i face is getting from Benidorm to Valencia on the day of the game (Unless the bus is still running from the Stretford end bar in Benidorm?) and also could be potential disruption getting back to the airport on Thursday?- m_u_f_c
Those traveling to Valencia....keep an eye on the general strike they might be having in Spain around about that time..if not the day of the fixture..- Zain
Great! Bodes well for me getting a ticket in someone elses name then!- m_u_f_c
They are re-introducing ticket collection in Valencia by the way- Oli
After what people are saying they paid, i fear i may have over paid for Valencia! £130 for flights to Alicante, still need to book 3 nights in Benidorm!- m_u_f_c
Think it is a good group. Turkey the furtherst trip and not that bad. Valencia are in meltdown as a team and Rangers crap. Have booked Valencia for £70 with hotel next to stadium too, and will do Glasgow. Think Turkey too much hassle after doing Besiktas last season, only a few hundred will go on one or two charters and nto worth doing just to get the loyalty credit.- Oli
All 3 aways will be very tricky, so its imperative we take 9 points at home.- twoc2002
Handy enough group i think we should definitely be topping it.- Munsterman
Could have been worse. No trips to Madrid or Russia.- John
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