Battle of the giants

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 12:00am

Manchester United play Chelsea tonight in one of three quarter-final matches in the English Worthington Cup football competition.

United have won this trophy, better known as the League Cup, just once - 10 years ago, while Chelsea have clinched it twice - most recently in 1998.

In an all-first division clash Sheffield United will battle Crystal Palace for a place in next month's semi-final.

The third tie is giant-killers Wigan Athletic versus defending champions Blackburn Rovers. Led by young coach Paul Jewell, Wigan are having a superb season and top the second division.

They have dumped three Premier League sides out of this competition - West Bromwich Albion (WBA), Manchester City and, in the last round, Fulham.

Star striker Nathan Ellington netted a hat-trick in the 3-1 win against WBA, and then hit a match-winning double in the 2-1 victory against Fulham.

Tomorrow night Aston Villa, four-time winners, meet Liverpool, six-time champions, to complete the round. Liverpool have the best record of any team in the 41-year-old competition. They won it most recently two years ago, and four times consecutively from 1981-1984.

The final will be at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on March 2 next year.