The English Pedigree In Champions League

On Wednesday, 6th April 2011, 18:45 GMT, Chelsea will host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the first of two legs in the quarterfinals of the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League. Once upon a time, clubs from the same league meeting was a monumental event, however the more inclusive entry rules now make it a far more common occurrence. In fact, this week's quarterfinal will be the 10th tie pitting English clubs together in the last seven years.

The previous 18 encounters have had it all; mundane stalemates, barnstorming goal fests, extra time winners, penalty shootout agony, ecstasy and shedloads of controversy. Let’s take a little walk down the memory lane and reminisce.

2003/04 Quarter-Finals: Chelsea 3 - 2 Arsenal

The 2003/04 season saw the first meeting of English clubs in Europe’s re-branded premier club competition, as Arsenal faced Chelsea in the final eight. Chelsea went into the tie having not won any of their previous 16 meetings against the Gunners, and were outsiders to qualify after Robert Pires cancelled out Eidur Gudjohnsen’s opener at Stamford Bridge. The second leg looked set for a similar scoreline, and the Highbury crowd were awaiting extra time when Wayne Bridge shocked the home support with an 87th minute winner to fire Chelsea into the semis.


2004/05 Semi-Finals: Liverpool 1 - 0 Chelsea

Of all the clashes of English clubs, this one probably still classifies as the most controversial. Jose Mourinho was in his first season in English football and looking to win successive Champions Leagues. After a drab first leg, Luis Garcia broke the deadlock at Stamford Bridge with a goal that still divides opinion to this day. It was to be the last of the tie, and Liverpool went onto win their fifth European Cup in Istanbul with a thrilling comeback against AC Milan.

2005/06 Group Stages: Liverpool 0 - 0 Chelsea, Chelsea 0 - 0 Liverpool

Intriguingly, the sides were paired in the group stages for the following campaign. Again, cagey affairs ensued with both games ending in a stalemate. The 0-0 draws were sufficient for both sides to progress to the knock out stages, ahead of Real Betis and Anderlecht.

2006/07 Semi-Finals: Liverpool 1 - 1 Chelsea, Liverpool Won 4 - 1 On Penalties

The 2006/07 campaign saw Chelsea and Liverpool renew rivalries in another semi-final. The first leg at Stamford Bridge was won by a Joe Cole strike, before Daniel Agger levelled up the tie in the return game as Anfield. Penalties were required, and as it was two years previously, Liverpool progressed to meet AC Milan in the final.

2007/08 Quarter-Finals: Liverpool 5 - 3 Arsenal

The 2007/08 Champions League quarter-finals featured another all English encounter between Arsenal and Liverpool. After a 1-1 draw at the Emirates, the second leg was one of the most dramatic games in the competitions illustrious history. Abou Diaby put the Gunners ahead, before replied through Sami Hyppia. Fernando Torres swung the tie Liverpool’s way, but Emmanuel Adebayor equalised in the 84th minute and Arsenal looked to be going through on away goals. Just a minute later, Steven Gerrard put Liverpool back ahead from the penalty spot and Ryan Babel put the gloss on the result in injury time.

2007/08 Semi-Finals: Chelsea 4 - 3 Liverpool (Extra-Time)

Remarkably, theese sides met again in a third semifinal in four years. After the turgid nature of their previous clashes, neutrals would have been excused if they evaded the fixture, but the tie produced more goals than in the previous six games combined. Dirk Kuyt gave Liverpool the lead at Anfield, but preposterously, John Arne Riise diverted a cross into his own net in stoppage time. At Stamford Bridge, the sides couldn’t be separated with Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres on target to force another bout of extra time. Drogba and Lampard scored for the hosts, but Ryan Babel’s long range effort ensured a nervy denouement to proceedings. Chelsea prevailed though, finally reaching the Champions League final.

2007/08 Final: Man United 1 - 1 Chelsea, Man Utd Won 6-5 On Penalties

The only previous meeting of these two clubs in Europe came in the final three years ago. The recriminations are still being felt in West London, as it was captain John Terry’s penalty rebounding off the upright which allowed United to take the title. Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Red Devil’s the lead with a towering first half header from Owen Hargreaves‘ (remember him?) cross, but Frank Lampard levelled. Extra time saw Didier Drogna dismissed before the destination of the trophy was decided by penalties. After Anelka and Terry missed, Ryan Giggs stepped up to give Manchester United their third title.

2008/09 Quarter-Finals: Chelsea 7-5 Liverpool (Aggregate)

For a fifth successive year, Chelsea and Liverpool locked horns. This time it was a quarter final, and it produced the most sensational result yet. Chelsea travelled to Anfield for the first leg and fell behind early through a Fernando Torres goal. Not to be perturbed, they struck three in reply, two from the unorthodox source of Branislav Ivanovic and one from Didier Drogba to take an ostensibly comfortable 3-1 lead home to West London. Liverpool wasted no time getting back into the tie however, and were 2-0 up within a half hour through Aurelio and Alonso strikes. Chelsea emerged a different team in the second half however and were 3-2 up on the night as Drogba, Alex and Lamaprd hit the net. Liverpool struck back again however, Lucas and Kuyt strikes leaving them one goal from progression. Lampard killed the tie in the final minute though, leaving a remarkable game 4-4 on the night with Chelsea progressing 7-5 on aggregate.

2008/09 Semi-Finals: Manchester United 4 - 1 Arsenal

Defending champions Manchester United went into this clash looking to reach a second successive final. Despite dominating the opening leg, an inspired performance from Gunners goalkeeper Manuel Almunia meant they only took a 1-0 lead to the Emirates. That John O'Shea goal proved crucial however, as it allowed United to expound the counter attacking game that has become their blueprint for facing Arsenal. Within 11 minutes they had put the tie beyond the home side, Ronaldo setting up Park before firing home himself. The Portuguese then secured his brace before Robin Van Persie got the lone reply for Arsenal with 15 minutes left. His penalty was conceded by Darren Fletcher who missed the final for his indiscretion

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