By Chris Harris

Which European league is the strongest? It’s a question which sparks lengthy debate across the continent as advocates of the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A have their say.

Arsène Wenger expects the first knockout round of the Champions League to provide a few answers. Liverpool are preparing for a skirmish with Spanish giants Real Madrid but, more strikingly, three other English sides go head to head with the cream of Italian football as Internazionale take on Manchester United, Chelsea face Juventus and, of course, Arsenal play Roma.

The common consensus is that Serie A enjoyed a golden age in the 1990s but has since been eclipsed by the Premier League. Wenger thinks those three ties will reveal the true merits of the rival leagues.

"It's difficult to assess [which is strongest] but we will have good perspective on it after the three games the English teams play against the Italian teams in this round,” said Wenger.

“There are three good Italian teams, Inter, Juventus and Roma, against three good English teams which will give us a good view of how strong we are.

"I believe we are strong enough to beat Roma, but the Champions League at that level, it is down to minimal mistakes and being in good form on the day, being decisive in your chance. That is the quality that the English teams will want to show.”

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23 Feb 2009