In moments of crisis, return to basics. Carlo Ancelotti wrote his dissertation for his coaching diploma on the 4-3-2-1, and it was to the Christmas tree he returned against Manchester United at Old Trafford. It might have been an inspired reversion -- and indeed it did address some of the problems Chelsea had suffered in the first leg -- but in the harsh light of a 2-1 defeat it may seem like a doomed manager scrabbling desperately for the comforts of the familiar.
Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the English Premier League to ten points on Saturday after a comfortable 2-0 win over Fulham at Old Trafford.
When an earthquake hit Haiti in 2010 a quarter of a million people lost their lives, homes were flattened and communities torn apart. The capital Port-au-Prince became a sea of devastation in which shelter was hard to find.
When Carlo Ancelotti arrived at Chelsea in summer 2009, he started off playing 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond. That paired Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba as strike partners, with Frank Lampard tucked behind. It rapidly became apparent that Lampard is far better played with the ball in front of him than playing with his back to goal.
Two-time English FA Cup holders Chelsea needed a late goal from substitute Salomon Kalou to stay in the competition Saturday as the Ivorian's 75th-minute goal rescued a 1-1 draw at Everton in their fourth round clash.
Reigning champions Chelsea revived their English Premier League title bid with a thumping 4-0 win at Bolton on Monday night.
Chelsea's chances of retaining the English Premier League title suffered another setback on Sunday as struggling Aston Villa snatched a last-gasp 3-3 draw in London.
Defending champions Chelsea secured their first win in seven league games to beat Bolton 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, but title rivals Arsenal dropped vital points.
Laurent Blanc claimed to have had no second thoughts about taking the job as France coach after its embarrassing World Cup campaign, and in his five months in charge, he has led the team to the top of its Euro 2012 qualifying group. France was in London this week for a friendly against England at Wembley, which it deservedly won, with the 2-1 score line greatly flattering the hosts. This week provided a good opportunity to look back at Blanc's comments from his first news conference as France coach, and see how much progress has been made.
Defending champions Chelsea marched five points clear at the top of the English Premier League on Saturday with a 2-0 victory that left Wolverhampton in the relegation zone.
Dimitar Berbatov scored a stunning hat-trick as Manchester United recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead to defeat Liverpool 3-2 in a thrilling English Premier League game at Old Trafford.
English champions Chelsea scored six goals for the second successive match of the new Premier League season at home to Wigan Athletic to match Arsenal's effort earlier on Saturday.
Double winners Chelsea began the defense of their English Premier League title with a 6-0 drubbing of West Brom, while another promoted club provided the shock of the day as Blackpool thrashed Wigan 4-0.
France's World Cup nightmare finally came to an end in Bloemfontein but hosts South Africa narrowly failed to prevent Mexico and Uruguay progressing from Group A.
With the English Premier League season complete, it's time for the critics to scratch out their reviews. Picking a team of the season is both straightforward and unfathomably difficult; it's impossible to come up with a quibble-resistant list, but here's my squad:
Holders Chelsea stayed on course for the domestic double in England with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Wembley on Saturday to reach the FA Cup final.
Four quick thoughts after Chelsea's well-deserved 2-1 win against Manchester United moved Carlo Ancelotti's men into prime position in the Premiership title race:
Chelsea got their charge for the English Premier League title back on track with an emphatic 5-0 win at bottom club Portsmouth.
Chelsea climbed back to the top of English Premier League table after a comfortable 3-0 victory over Birmingham at Stamford Bridge.
English Premier League leaders Chelsea smashed seven goals past hapless Sunderland on Saturday, while second-placed Manchester United kept up the pressure with a 3-0 victory at home to Burnley.
Birmingham extended their unbeaten English Premier League run to 10 games as they held leaders Chelsea 0-0 at St Andrew's in the early kick off on Boxing Day.
Nicolas Anelka stunned Porto for the second time this season as Chelsea finished top of Champions League Group D with a 1-0 victory in the Estadio do Dragao.
Second half goals from Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda gave Chelsea a 2-0 victory over title rivals Liverpool at Stamford Bridge to take over at the top of the English Premier League from Manchester United.
Chelsea winger Florent Malouda has signed a new two-year extension to his current contract with the Premier League club.
Chelsea recovered from falling behind to the fastest goal in FA Cup final history to beat Everton 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday in coach Guus Hiddink's final game in charge of the English club.
West Bromwich Albion have become the first team to be relegated from the English Premier League this season after they were beaten 2-0 at home by Liverpool on Sunday.
Didier Drogba muscled his way through for a late winner to put Chelsea into the FA Cup final with a 2-1 victory over Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.
Chelsea have one foot in the Champions League semifinals after fighting back from going a goal down at Anfield to beat Premier League rivals Liverpool 3-1 in their quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.
Alan Shearer's first game in charge of Newcastle ended with a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea to leave the north-east giants deep in relegation trouble in the Premier League.
Nicolas Anelka continued his free-scoring form as Chelsea regained leadership of the English Premier League with a 3-0 rout of bottom club West Bromwich Albion in Saturday's late kickoff.
Harry Redknapp's revitalized Tottenham Hotspur beat Liverpool 2-1 at White Hart Lane to knock the visitors off the top of the Premier League and continue their remarkable run under the new manager.
Chelsea shrugged off their injury problems to brush aside Aston Villa 2-0 on Sunday to stay unbeaten and top of the English Premier League.
Last season's beaten Carling Cup finalists Chelsea brushed aside the challenge of Portsmouth with a 4-0 win at Fratton Park to reach the last 16 of this year's competition.
Salomon Kalou salvaged a point for Chelsea in a 1-1 draw against defending Premier League champions Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
First-half headers from Frank Lampard and Joe Cole set last season's runners-up Chelsea on their way, as they cruised past Bordeaux 4-0 to earn manager Luiz Felipe Scolari his first Champions League win in their Group A opener.
Netherlands thrashed France 4-1 in the match of the tournament so far in Berne to secure their place in the quarterfinals by finishing top of Group C.
France lacked the guile to break down a stubborn Romania side as a turgid Euro 2008 Group C opener finished goalless in Zurich.
France coach Raymond Domenech omitted striker David Trezeguet from his provisional squad for next month's European Championship finals on Sunday.
Chelsea made sure the Premier League title race will be decided on the final day of the season as second half goals from Michael Ballack and Florent Malouda gave them 2-0 win at Newcastle on Monday.
John Arne Riise scored a nightmare own-goal in the fifth minute of time added on to give Chelsea a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal away to Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Colin Kazim-Richards led the fightback for Fenerbahce as they recovered from a 1-0 half-time deficit to stun Chelsea 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal at a hostile Sukru Saracoglu Stadium.
Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Raymond Domenech. I don't think he's a particularly nice person and I don't believe he's a particularly good coach.
Arsenal full-back Gael Clichy has received his first call-up to the France squad for next week's friendly matches against DR Congo and Spain.
Didier Drogba delivered the fatal blow as Chelsea swept three points clear in their Champions League group after a 2-0 victory against Bundesliga hopes Schalke at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Scotland pulled off a tremendous 1-0 victory over France in Paris and enhanced their chances of qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals from a really tough group.
World champions Italy produced a lackluster performance and slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Hungary in an international friendly on Wednesday.
Fernando Torres scored a debut goal for Liverpool on his first appearance at Anfield but Chelsea salvaged a point with a Frank Lampard penalty after a controversial decision by referee Rob Styles.
Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar saved all three penalties he faced in the shootout as Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-0 on spot-kicks after a bruising 1-1 draw in the FA Community Shield match at Wembley.
The show of unity between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and billionaire owner Roman Abramovich this week confirmed one of last season's worse-kept secrets -- that the pair were barely on speaking terms for the majority of the season, a falling-out that arguably cost the London club any hopes of winning the Premier League for a third season in succession.
Brazil midfielder Juninho scored two goals and set up another to inspire Lyon to a 4-0 thrashing of second-placed Lens that sent the champions 17 points clear in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Lyon captain Claudio Cacapa will return from a lengthy lay-off when the five-times French champions take on Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Gregory Coupet saved a last-gasp penalty to earn Lyon a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid that ensured the French side will progress to the last 16 of the Champions League as winners of Group E.
Real Madrid turned in a superb performance, striking twice in each half, to beat Steaua Bucharest 4-1 in their pivotal Champions League Group E match on Tuesday.
Champions Lyon extended their strong start to the Ligue 1 campaign by beating Lille for a change on Saturday, doing it in style with a crushing 4-1 win.
Goals from Tiago, Fred and Florent Malouda kept the Lyon bandwagon rolling with a 3-1 Ligue One victory at Lorient on Saturday.
Midfielder Johan Micoud made a stylish return to Ligue 1 when Bordeaux continued their perfect start to the season with a 1-0 win at nine-man Lorient.
France coach Raymond Domenech will pair David Trezeguet with Thierry Henry in attack for Friday's World Cup Group G decider against Togo.
Midfielder Florent Malouda is fit to play France's second World Cup Group G match against South Korea on Sunday, coach Raymond Domenech has said.
Midfielder Florent Malouda could miss France's World Cup opener against Switzerland on Tuesday because of an injury, coach Raymond Domenech has said.
Two goals from Florent Malouda helped defending champions Lyon to a 4-0 home win over lowly Metz on Saturday to maintain a nine-point lead at the top of the French standings.
Midfielder Tiago struck twice before the break as Olympique Lyon demolished PSV Eindhoven 4-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Wednesday.
France slumped to a clumsy 2-1 home defeat by Slovakia in a World Cup warm-up on Wednesday, their first defeat since Euro 2004 and their first under coach Raymond Domenech.
France striker Nicolas Anelka will start Wednesday's friendly against Costa Rica after his surprise call-up to the team.
Lyon's excellent start to the season continued with a 4-0 rout of bottom-of-the-table Metz.
France coach Raymond Domenech is facing a revolt of club managers after arranging a friendly international against Costa Rica next month.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Jerome Rothen and Juventus defender Jonathan Zebina have been ruled out of France's next two World Cup qualifiers because of leg injuries.
Djibril Cisse and Florent Malouda gave France their first home win under Raymond Domenech with a 2-1 victory over Hungary in Metz on Tuesday.
Lyon lifted a record-equaling fourth straight French title on Sunday after Sidney Govou and Claudio Cacapa scored in a 2-1 win over Ajaccio.
Philip Cocu equalized 11 minutes from time to earn PSV Eindhoven a 1-1 draw at Olympique Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Striker Sylvain Wiltord hit a hat-trick as he spearheaded Olympique Lyon to a 7-2 rout of Werder Bremen and a Champions League quarterfinal place.
Olympique Lyon scored three goals in five minutes and ended St Etienne's 13-match unbeaten run with a 3-2 victory in a passionate derby.
French champions Lyon opened up a seven-point lead when they demolished Toulouse 4-0 and second-placed Lille were held to their third consecutive draw by Sochaux.
Tuncay Sanli scored a second-half hat-trick to earn Fenerbahce a 3-0 win over a depleted Manchester United in their final Champions League Group D match on Wednesday.
Lyon midfielder Florent Malouda earns his first French cap on Wednesday after coach Raymond Domenech named him to start the friendly against Poland.
Arsenal's Robert Pires appears to have paid the price for his public criticism of coach Raymond Domenech by being dropped from the squad to play Poland on November 17.
Olympique Lyon warmed up for next week's Champions League match at Fenerbahce with a 4-0 demolition of Caen in a Ligue 1 match on Friday.
Second-half goals by midfielder Mickael Essien and striker Florent Malouda handed champions Olympique Lyon a 2-0 win at Toulouse in Ligue 1 on Tuesday.
Maniche Ribeiro scored twice to ease Porto into the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-2 draw in Lyon.
Giovane Elber sent Olympique Lyon to the top of the French league by scoring in a 1-0 win over Nantes.
A lively Lyon side gained the upper hand in their Champions League knockout tie against Real Sociedad, after a 1-0 win in the first leg in Spain.
Cup holders AJ Auxerre and league champions Olympique Lyon reached the French Cup second round on Saturday with comfortable 2-0 and 5-0 wins over Montpellier and Bourg-Peronnas.
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