Draw throws up heavyweight tie as old foes bid for semi-final spot

Frank Dalleres
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DEFENDING champions Arsenal face a trip to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals after the draw pitted the two highest-placed teams against each other last night.

United have beaten the Gunners once already this season, a 2-1 triumph at Emirates Stadium in November, and have not lost to the north Londoners in seven meetings since May 2011.

Arsenal have not beaten United in a cup competition since the 2005 FA Cup final, when they prevailed in a penalty shoot-out after being forced to defend for much of the 120 minutes. That was Arsene Wenger’s last trophy until they came from behind to win last year’s final against Hull.

Second-tier Blackburn, who pulled off a shock by thumping Premier League Stoke 4-1 on Saturday, have been handed a daunting trip to in-form Liverpool, whose captain Steven Gerrard is hoping to finish his Reds career by lifting the trophy at Wembley on 30 May, his 35th birthday.

League One Bradford, who have taken two top-flight scalps in Chelsea and Sunderland already in this year’s competition, must beat Championship side Reading to return to Wembley, where they lost the Capital One Cup final in 2013.

The other last-eight tie is a Midlands derby between Aston Villa, who beat Leicester on Sunday, and Tony Pulis’s much-improved West Brom, who swept past West Ham 4-0 a day earlier.


Liverpool v Blackburn
Bradford City v Reading
Man Utd v Arsenal
Aston Villa v West Brom

Ties to take place 7 and 8 March