Sometimes football simply doesn't make sense. The cliché that a club's name is on a trophy can't have any truth, and yet it was hard during Chelsea's Champions League final victory not to feel it had some greater power behind it.
Carlo Ancelotti paid the ultimate price for failing to deliver trophies at Chelsea last season, being sacked by the English club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich just hours after a defeat on the final day.
Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-1 at Old Trafford Sunday in an English Premier League top of the table clash which mixed superb attacking play with comical misses by star strikers Fernando Torres and Wayne Rooney.
The timing was typical Carlos Tevez. Within hours of Manchester City confirming their first signing of the summer, Gael Clichy, the controversial club captain had released yet another statement declaring his wish to leave the club. His comments overshadowed the new arrival but of the two stories, it was Clichy's signing that was the more surprising.
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.
Any conversation about left backs that does not begin with Giacinto Facchetti has already taken a wrong turn. At Internazionale under Helenio Herrera in the 1960s, Facchetti defined the European imagining of an attacking fullback: When Inter crushed Liverpool's hopes of a first European Cup final (on its way to a second successive title) in 1965, the Guardian's David Lacey reported that the break for Facchetti's winning goal "was carried out at top speed and took Liverpool's defense almost completely unawares .. Facchetti burst through and beat Lawrence with a splendid low shot." The innovation was Herrera's, Facchetti, as immaculate playing the ball as winning it, the perfect manifestation.
If this match had been played when originally scheduled, in December, top-of-the-table United would kickoff only three points ahead of its host. Instead, Chelsea is 15 points back and struggling just to make certain of a Champions League spot ... if Carlo Ancelotti is going to turn this ship around, he needs to sound the horn long and loud with a performance here.
OK, so we all feel very sorry for Wayne Bridge. The mother of his child, Vanessa Perroncel, and John Terry allegedly had an affair. Terry is not just Bridge's former teammate at Chelsea; he is also his teammate on the England team. And, until Terry was stripped of the England armband last month -- as a direct result of his alleged affair with Perroncel -- he was the national-team captain, too.
Chelsea and England defender Ashley Cole has apologized to London police for a foul-mouthed tirade that led to him being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Is a fullback primarily an attacker or a defender? It's not an easy question, and there's no right or wrong answer. The word "back" might point strongly to the latter option, but soccer is a dynamic sport, and one of the reasons for its global popularity is that it's open to so many different interpretations.
Welcome to the Fabio Capello era. England's players got their first taste of the new headmaster's regime leading up to Wednesday's friendly with Switzerland in a situation reminiscent of the opening half of Full Metal Jacket.