Both Arsenal and Chelsea admitted they would rather have faced conttinental opposition than meet each other for the fourth time this season.

After two league meetings and an FA Cup encounter, the clubs will meet for the fourth time in the Champions League after the draw for the quarter finals was made in Nyon today.

Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein said: “I think one of the joys of playing in Europe is playing teams from overseas – and having played Chelsea three times, it is a bit anti-climactic.

“But we have to remember we have never progressed beyond the quarter-finals. The last time we got that far was 2001, and we have got to do better than that.

“There is a great spirit in the team, and they are playing some pretty football – and I hope it lasts.”

Chelsea secretary David Barnard agreed: “It is a bit of an anti-climax. We’ve no opportunity to use our passports again, but it gives us the opportunity to put right the previous results against them this season.

“I think it will be an historic game. Neither club has got further than the quarter-finals.

“We’ve not got the challenge of foreign opponents and we know each other back to front. We know enough about them.”

Chelsea against Arsenal will be the first all-English tie since the European Cup became the Champions League.