Manchester United started their defense of the English Premier League title with a 2-1 away win at West Bromwich Albion Sunday.
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.
Tactical thoughts on the first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals:
Wayne Rooney's second-half hat-trick helped Manchester United move seven points clear in the English Premier League on Saturday as title rivals Arsenal and Chelsea were both held to draws.
Observations from Champions League action this week:
Lyon scored a late equalizer against Real Madrid to deny Karim Benzema a victorious return to his old club on Tuesday, while Chelsea moved towards a place in the Champions League quarterfinals with victory at Copenhagen.
Tim Howard's penchant for stopping penalty kicks and Nicolas Anelka's penchant for missing crucial ones converged Saturday on one fateful FA Cup moment.
England striker Wayne Rooney scored twice, only his second and third goals from open play this season, as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-1 to stay five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
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.
Reigning champions Chelsea revived their English Premier League title bid with a thumping 4-0 win at Bolton on Monday night.
Five things we learned from Saturday's "action" in the Premier League:
It was somehow appropriate that at the end of French soccer's annus horribilis, the man whose alleged halftime rant kick-started the World Cup's most astonishing team meltdown continued his row with the French football federation and accused it of "another provocation."
France have slipped to 27th place in the FIFA world rankings, their lowest position since football's governing body introduced the table in 1993.
It's been over two months since France's players went on strike during the World Cup in protest of the French football federation's decision to send home striker Nicolas Anelka, but it might as well have been yesterday given the mess the team faces as its Euro 2012 qualifying campaign gets under way.
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.
Four members of the French national soccer team were punished by a disciplinary commission Tuesday following an inquiry into the team's much-criticized performance and behavior at this year's World Cup.
Manchester City FC defender Kolo Toure tells CNN's Patrick Snell he is hopeful that Manchester City FC can win a trophy.
The new English Premier League season kicks off with the first round of fixtures this weekend - Fanzone details what to expect from the new campaign:
France take on Norway in a friendly Wednesday without the 23 players who took part in the country's disastrous World Cup campaign.
New France coach Laurent Blanc has chosen not to select any of the 23-man World Cup squad, that refused to take part in a training session during their disastrous tournament, for next month's friendly international against Norway.
The outgoing coach of France's national football team and the president of country's football federation were grilled by lawmakers Wednesday, following the team's ill-fated World Cup campaign.
They may be out of the World Cup, but French lawmakers haven't lost interest in the team. CNN's Jim Bittermann reports.
The world watched with awe and derision this past week as the French national soccer team, boasting a roster of star players, imploded on and off the field at the World Cup.
World Cup winner Marcel Desailly tells CNN that with the new management in place France will come back stronger.
The French World Cup soccer team appeared to keep their heads down Thursday after returning from the tournament following their surprise first-round exit.
France coach Raymond Domenech has described the strike by his players over forward Nicolas Anelka's expulsion from the squad as "unspeakably stupid."
French sponsors, fans, the press and politicians are denouncing the team's staged boycott after a striker was sent home.
France's World Cup squad boycotted training on Sunday in protest at the decision to send home star striker Nicolas Anelka.
France striker Nicolas Anelka has been sent home from the World Cup in South Africa following a row with national coach Raymond Domenech.
France and 10-man Uruguay played to a tame goalless draw in their Group A opener in Cape Town on Friday night.
Chelsea routed 10-man Wigan Athletic 8-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to dethrone Manchester United as English Premier League champions.
Chelsea moved a step closer to breaking Manchester United's stranglehold on the English Premier League title with a controversial 1-0 victory at home to Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night.
English FA Cup holders Chelsea secured their place in the last 16 of the competition with a 2-0 fourth-round victory over Preston at Deepdale on Saturday.
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.
France took a giant stride towards the World Cup finals with a 1-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in their European playoff match in Dublin on Saturday night.
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.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored two free-kicks on his European debut for Real Madrid, who opened their Champions League Group C campaign with a 5-2 victory away to FC Zurich on Tuesday night.
Deadly, lethal, prolific -- just a few adjectives often used to describe Team Limey's nightclub performances on a Saturday night. Back in the real world, these are apt descriptions of the elite goal-scorers discussed in this week's column. More specifically, we're looking at who we think will be donning the Golden Boot as the English Premier League's top scorer this season.
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.
Veteran Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs has been named as the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year -- the first time he has won the award in his glittering career.
Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka dealt French World Cup ambitions a blow on Monday when he withdrew from a critical qualifying double against Lithuania with a toe problem.
Chelsea will give late fitness tests to top scorer Nicolas Anelka and midfielder Deco ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Juventus in Turin.
A superb free-kick from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Manchester United a 2-1 home win over Blackburn to move them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Didier Drogba shares Nicolas Anelka's belief that the duo can fire Chelsea's trophy charge under caretaker-manager Guus Hiddink.
A hat-trick from Nicolas Anelka helps Chelsea come from behind to see off second-flight Watford 3-1 to reach the sixth round of the FA Cup.
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.
Brazilian Geovanni hammered in a superb 30-yard shot and Daniel Cousin headed home from a corner as promoted Hull City pulled off an astonishing 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka scored second-half goals to ease the pressure on French coach Raymond Domenech as his side beat Serbia 2-1 in the Stade de France.
New Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has backed Nicolas Anelka to lead his attack for the start of the new season following the Frenchman's four-goal salvo in Sunday's 5-0 hammering of Italian giants AC Milan.
Premier League top dogs Manchester United and Chelsea warmed up for the new season with thumping victories in friendlies on Saturday.
France lacked the guile to break down a stubborn Romania side as a turgid Euro 2008 Group C opener finished goalless in Zurich.
The Champions League final: dramatic, riveting, emotional. So many interwoven tales -- of heroism and euphoria, of loss and heartache. One hundred and twenty minutes of pulsating soccer followed by a heart-in-mouth penalty shootout to decide it all.
David Beckham's 100th cap ended in disappointment as France beat England 1-0 in their friendly international at the Stade de France on Wednesday.
Frank Lampard hit four goals as doomed Derby felt the backlash from Chelsea's shock FA Cup exit with a 6-1 thrashing at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Emmanuel Adebayor maintained his prodigious recent scoring rate with two more goals as Arsenal went to the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win at Manchester City in the early kick-off on Saturday.
The January transfer window is about to slam shut, but hardly any major clubs are clamoring to secure deals before the deadline of midnight on Jan. 31.
Nicolas Anelka scored his first goal for Chelsea and laid on another for Shaun Wright-Phillips as the FA Cup holders won 2-1 at Wigan to reach the fifth round.
It is a perhaps a sign of how far Nicolas Anelka has gone towards restoring his reputation as one of the most dangerous goalscorers in world football that his $30 million move from Bolton to Chelsea last week raised barely an eyebrow.
Manchester United returned to the top of the English Premier League after thrashing crisis club Newcastle 6-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Like most English Premier League managers, Team Limey has been working off the excesses of Christmas and New Year to battle with a horde of like-minded bargain-hungry individuals perusing the January sales.
French international Nicolas Anelka has joined Chelsea from Premier League strugglers Bolton Wanderers on four and a half year deal.
Chelsea's opening bid to sign $25 million-rated French international striker Nicolas Anelka has been rejected by Premier League rivals Bolton Wanderers.
Arsenal moved three points clear at the top of the English Premier League after closest rivals Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at Bolton on Saturday.
French Euro 2008 qualification hopes were dealt a blow on Monday when Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka was ruled out of the critical midweek qualifier against Lithuania in Nantes.
Nicolas Anelka has ended speculation about his future by signing a new four-year contract with Bolton.
John Utaka repaid another slice of his club record transfer fee as he scored in Portsmouth's 3-1 win over Bolton on Saturday.
France boosted their hopes of qualification from the difficult Euro 2008 Group B with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Ukraine in the Stade de France on Saturday.
Nicolas Anelka scored twice to end his Bolton goal drought and severely dent the title hopes of his former club Arsenal who went down to a 3-1 defeat at the Reebok stadium on Saturday.
Bolton striker Nicolas Anelka has been recalled to the France squad to face Scotland and the Faroe Islands in their Euro 2008 Group B qualifiers.
Nicolas Anelka has signed a four-year deal with Bolton after the Premiership club agreed to pay Turkey's Fenerbahce eight million pounds ($15.11m) for the French striker.
Premier League side Bolton Wanderers are close to signing France striker Nicolas Anelka from Fenerbahce, manager Sam Allardyce said on Monday.
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.
European heavyweights France and Germany played out a goalless draw at the Stade de France in Paris in a friendly international on Saturday.
France striker Nicolas Anelka will start Wednesday's friendly against Costa Rica after his surprise call-up to the team.
Nicolas Anelka has earned a surprise recall by France for their friendly internationals against Costa Rica and Germany next week.
Inter Milan defender Francesco Coco will not be joining Newcastle United on loan, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.
Premier League Newcastle said on Friday they have bid for French striker Nicolas Anelka who currently plays with Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Former France striker Nicolas Anelka completed his move to Turkish league leaders Fenerbahce from Manchester City on Monday.
Nicolas Anelka's checkered career took another dramatic twist when Manchester City agreed to sell the French striker to Turkish club Fenerbahce at a substantial loss.
Troubled France striker Nicolas Anelka could be set to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce, it has been revealed.
French striker Nicolas Anelka could move from Manchester City to Liverpool but only if the Anfield club made a "massive" offer said City manager Kevin Keegan.
Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu rounded off an explosive week for West Bromwich by rescuing a point for the Premiership newcomers against Fulham in a match that saw three red cards.
Kevin Keegan has reiterated his desire to hold on to Nicolas Anelka by claiming even a bid in excess of 20 million pounds ($35.79m) would not persuade him to let the French striker leave Manchester City.
Monaco says Nicolas Anelka wants to join them but the club will not buckle to Manchester City's demands for a transfer fee, a team official said Thursday.
Werder Bremen talisman Johan Micoud has been rewarded for his fine displays this season by being recalled to the French squad for their friendly against the Netherlands next week.
Manchester United striker Louis Saha has been named in the France squad for next week's international friendly against Belgium in Brussels.
Manchester City striker Nicolas Anelka has lost his appeal against the red card he received at Arsenal last weekend and must serve his three-match English FA ban.
Manchester City produced one of the greatest comebacks in FA Cup history to beat Tottenham 4-3 to reach the fifth round of the competition.
Manchester City's 14-match winless run came to an end on Wednesday as Kevin Keegan's side left it late against Leicester to reach the FA Cup fourth round.
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