Chelsea’s Premiership win: a lesson in bringing the best out of star players

May 10, 2010

“Chelsea – Premiership champions 2009/10. A great side? Probably not, but it’s hard to argue that, over the course of the season, they do not deserve to lift the trophy. In terms of the players who have started the greatest number of matches, Chelsea’s XI this season reads: Petr Cech (34); Branislav Ivanovic (21), John Terry (37), Ricardo Carvalho (22), Ashley Cole (25); Jon Obi Mikel (21), Michael Ballack (26), Frank Lampard (36), Florent Malouda (25), Nicolas Anelka (31) and Didier Drogba (31). And yet, on only one one occasion this season has that XI actually started a match together, in the 2-0 home victory over Arsenal in February, when Ancelotti fielded a Christmas Tree formation with Anelka and Malouda playing Didier Drogba.” (Zonal Marking)

Carlo Ancelotti eyes long Chelsea stay & more trophies
“Boss Carlo Ancelotti plans to establish Chelsea as the leading force in English football after winning the Premier League in his first season at the club. The Blues last lifted the title in 2006 but thrashed Wigan 8-0 on Sunday to wrest it away from Manchester United.” (BBC)

Chelsea Wins Premier League Title
“Chelsea regained the English Premier League soccer title from Manchester United with a 8-0 victory over Wigan on Sunday as Didier Drogba scored three goals. Even though United finished the campaign with a 4-0 home victory over Stoke at Old Trafford, the big celebrations were at Stamford Bridge in London where goals by Mr. Drogba, two by Nicolas Anelka and one each by Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Ashley Cole left Chelsea champions by one point in manager Carlo Ancelotti’s first season in English football.” (WSJ)

World Cup Tales: The Shame Of Gijon, 1982

May 10, 2010

“Algeria make their first appearance in the World Cup finals since 1986 this year, and if they are looking for any more encouragement to perform than the prospect of playing on the world’s biggest stage, then the sense of injustice at their previous treatment by the competition could be enough to spur them on that little bit more. Algeria have previously qualified for two World Cup tournaments, but in one of those circumstances conspired against them to the extent that they may have been excused wondering whether they weren’t even wanted in the tournament in the first place. Was Algeria’s elimination from the 1982 World Cup down to “cheating” by their group rivals West Germany and Austria, though, or was the fundamental flaw in the timing of the final group matches?” (twohundredpercent)

Inter Milan (Internazionale) 4-3 Chievo Verona – Video Highlights and Recap – Serie A – 9 May 2010

May 10, 2010

“The Italian Serie A leaders Inter Milan were only two wins away from clinching the title as they hosted Chievo Verona on Sunday, May 9, 2010. They lead AS Roma by two points and are aiming for their fourth straight Serie A title. They already have the Italian Cup and have a chance to win three trophies by the end of the season.” (The 90th Minute)

Inter’s Milito hoping to book a World Cup spot with Argentina
“Diego Milito’s goal against Roma last week gave Internazionale a 1-0 victory and its first title of the season, the Copa Italia, and put the club on track to challenge for the triple that also includes the Italian League and Champions League trophies. But the final destination Milito is really gunning for is actually in South Africa with Argentina.” (SI)

Players, Lives, and ‘A Beautiful Game’

May 10, 2010

“‘What makes a player?’ Answers to this question, here quoted from Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger’s foreword to the newish book A Beautiful Game, are plentiful in world football. We debate the right age to go pro, the role of intensive youth academies, shifting population demographics, the dangers and benefits of increasing professionalization, and more in hopes of figuring out how to best tap the potential of millions of children playing the game with unstructured joy.” (Pitch Invasion)

Cameroon-Denmark should be key game

May 10, 2010

“The E stands for eclectic. The group has a colorful set of teams that span from North to South and East to West and range from attack-minded to more defensively oriented. There’s a clear favorite in the Netherlands and a team clearly expected to bring up the rear in Japan, with Denmark and Cameroon expected to fight for advancement.” (ESPN)

Dismal draw for Reds

May 10, 2010

“Liverpool’s dismal season ended as it began, with a whimper, as they were second best in a goalless draw at relegated Hull. If this was to be Rafael Benitez’s last match in charge – and his future remains very much in doubt – it would be a sad end to his Anfield reign. Hull had the better chances with Mark Cullen missing two close-range chances in the first half, while the closest Liverpool came was when Alberto Aquilani hit the crossbar just before the interval and Steven Gerrard a post moments before the final whistle.” (ESPN)