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Nic Ladds 20th Mar 2009 - 13:29

Fergie gets that Friday feeling with favourable draw

Alex Ferguson will be all smiles as Manchester United are now installed as 2/1 favourites in the Champions League outright betting after a favourable draw.

United have been drawn against 2004 winners Porto but it is safe to say they are not the force they were five years ago under Jose Mourinho and The Red Devils are fully expected to ease through to the semi-finals and are as short as 1/3 to qualify with Porto 9/4 or 33/1 to go on and win the whole tournament.

The winner of this game take on the winners of Villareal versus Arsenal. Arsene Wenger's side could have done a lot worse than drawing 'The Yellow Submarines' who are having some trouble stringing together consistently good results.

The Gunners are 13/2 to win the competition with the Spanish side at 20/1 in the betting.

Arsenal may have hit form but Villareal are no mugs and the 11/8 on offer about the Spaniards qualifying looks more appealing than 8/15 about Arsenal.

In the clash of the round we have Chelsea against Liverpool and there is no love lost between these two.

Last year Chelsea knocked Liverpool out at the semi-final stage after a draw an aggregate forced extra time, while the year before that, it was The Reds that turned over over The Blues in the semi-final on penalties.

Both teams have started to hit form domestically and The Reds impressive demolition job of Real Madrid will have their confidence peaking at the right time.

Odds of even money about them qualifying look tempting over Chelsea who are 8/11 in the betting to make it through to the semis.

In the outright betting Chelsea can be backed at 5/1 with Liverpool at odds of 13/2.

Both these sides at least avoid the likely challenge of Man Utd until the final but they don't escape the clutches of the winner of Barcelona against Bayern Munich.

Had Barca drawn the likes of Porto they would still be favourites but due the trickier nature of their game they are now 3/1 second favourites with the German side at 16/1.

Barcelona won the tournament in 2006 after beating Arsenal 2-1 in the final while who can forget Bayern's dramatic last minute loss to Man Utd back in 1999?

It is no surprise the Spanish side are as short as 4/11 favourites to qualify due to their dominance of La Primera Liga and wealth of attacking talent but write the German side off at your peril.

The manner in which Munich disposed of Sporting in the last round, 12-1 on aggregate was eye catching to say the least.

While Barca provide sterner opposition, there will be takers for the 2/1 on offer about Bayern qualifying.

This is setting up to be a tense, exciting finish to this season's Champions League campaign with some mouth-watering matches to look forward to.

Manchester United are worthy favourites but if we have to stick our neck out for a bigger priced winner then Bayern Munich are the selection.

They can beat anyone on their day and while they have a difficult route, if they can overcome the challenge of Barcelona, who have been stuttering against poor opposition recently, then Chelsea or Liverpool should not be a problem.

The 16/1 on offer will be slashed immediately if they can turn over the Spanish giants and a small investment on the German side looks the call in a desperately tight last eight.

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