Chelsea to face Arsenal in U.E.F.A. Champions League

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Chelsea to play Arsenal in Tuesday's all-London clash in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:06 IST
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Not even a severe rainstorm could dampen Chelsea's spirits as they prepared for Tuesday's all-London clash with Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They could only manage a draw in the first leg at their Stamford Bridge home - they're meeting the English Premiership leaders and they're the underdogs. But Claudio Ranieri and his men don't seem in the least bit worried. According to FIFA supremo Sepp Blatter - and many others - Arsenal are currently the best football team in the world. Sadly for Chelsea, they have to face the English Premiership leaders at their Highbury home on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final. "They (Arsenal) are better than us because the (English Premiership) table says this. The confidence says this. We are underdogs. But I like to remember myself and my player (meaning Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, sat next to him), in Europe so far, we have won every time away, we have scored every time. That is important," said Claudio Ranieri, Chelsea manager And other things that are important include the strength and depth of a Chelsea side underpinned by the billions of owner Roman Abramovich. Incredible run There's a lot of talk about Arsenal's incredible unbeaten run in the Premiership. But the Chelsea players aren't overawed. "I think that everybody - all the players - they know what this game is about and believe you me, everybody wants to do well and everybody is ready. It is not that we are talking like all the time about the game and that we are going to do this and we are going to do that but, you know, we just feel it and you just see it in each others eyes. You know, that nobody is afraid," said Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a Chelsea player You certainly wouldn't expect John Terry to fall in to that category. One of the most improved players in the English game, the centre-back is the linchpin of the Chelsea defence. With Frank Lampard running midfield - and international stars strewn throughout the squad, Claudio Ranieri has taken a step in the right direction in emulating the success of Arsenal. "They (Arsenal) are working hard since four years ago, minimum to achieve the final. Chelsea started this season and I think we have made a very good foundation this year," Ranieri said. Ranieri has been under extreme pressure in his position as Chelsea manager. Seemingly every major coach in world football is set to oust him. Trademark humour Yet the Italian still found time for some of his trademark humour. "I like to be the owner, not the dog. But at this moment, I am underdog," Ranieri said. Chelsea haven't won in 17 games against Arsenal in all competitions. But they have a good record in this season's Champions League - they are on form in the Premiership - and all concerned are happy. "They (the players) recharged their batteries after the Tottenham match and they are 'full of beans' (very happy) - you say - no? In other matches, maybe I must motivate them ‘come on guys.’ Today, just relax – enjoy," the Chelsea manager said. Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester United on Saturday showed that the 'Gunners' are only human after all. Chelsea will be hoping to further debunk the myth of their invincibility - win at Highbury - and march on to the semi-finals of the Champions League. (AP)

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