Manchester United claimed their first points of the season with an edgy win over Fulham, whilst Chelsea continued their strong start with victory over Newcastle.
Just a week in to the new Premier League season and we can already say that a number of players have made evidently good moves over the course of the summer -- Eden Hazard has needed no time to bed in at Chelsea, Michu is already having a ball at Swansea City, and Mladen Petric has quickly embraced the team ethic at Fulham. As we barrel towards the end of the transfer window, however, there are a few moves that, if not entirely baffling, at least give rise to a feeling of unease.
Late goals from Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic gave Chelsea a 4-2 win over promoted Reading at Stamford Bridge Wednesday.
Don Riddell interviews Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo and talks accomplishments and what the future holds.
Manchester City shrugged off a penalty miss, an injury to striker Sergio Aguero and falling 2-1 behind in the second half, to register a thrilling 3-2 opening win over Southampton Sunday in their defense of the English Premier League title.
CNN's Don Riddell recaps the friendly soccer match between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain at Yankee Stadium.
Didier Drogba talks to Chelsea TV about his decision not to renew his contract with the Champion's League winners
One of the hottest properties in European football, Eden Hazard, has ended months of speculation as to his future by announcing on Twitter he is to join Champions League winners Chelsea.
With Chelsea's victory over Bayern Munich still fresh, here are five UEFA Champions League-inspired thoughts and observations from another MLS Saturday:
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.
Three thoughts after Chelsea won the Champions League title on Saturday over Bayern Munich in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 tie:
CNN's Pedro Pinto and Alex Thomas set the scene for the UEFA Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea.
Didier Drogba scored the winner in a dramatic penalty shootout as Chelsea beat Bayern Munich Saturday to win the European Champions League for the first time.
The world's most important annual club soccer game is set to kick off in Munich on Saturday. Here are five thoughts on the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea (FOX, 2:45 pm ET).
Heading into Saturday's Champions League final against Bayern Munich, here are five storylines to watch for Chelsea.
Following Man City's dramatic triumph, here are several thoughts from the end of the EPL season.
What started out as Chelsea's worst season since owner Roman Abramovich arrived in 2003 is now on the verge of becoming one of the English club's best.
The mystery behind the peculiar inscriptions "Out of the Blue" and "True Blue" which first appeared on Sauber engine covers at the Chinese Grand Prix has finally been revealed.
"The best don't always win," Fernando Torres said after Chelsea's dramatic 2-2 draw away to Barcelona. It's a soccer truism that becomes ever more pronounced at the highest of levels. It's why no one will begrudge Chelsea or Bayern their advancement to the May 19 final at the Allianz Arena, both second legs could have easily turned out very differently. It ultimately came down to missed penalties on Tuesday and Wednesday, a margin of error so small that it should stop us from making sweeping statements. The reasons for success were as complex and open to debate as those for failure.
Chelsea stunned titleholders Barcelona with a 1-0 victory in the first leg of their European Champions League semifinal on Wednesday
Some quick thoughts on this weekend's FA Cup semifinal contestants:
Chelsea romped into the English FA Cup semifinal with a 5-1 beating of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in a controversial match at Wembley Sunday.
Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid won 3-0 at APOEL Nicosia to all but secure their place in the European Champions League semifinals.
A late strike from Samir Nasri, set up by the returning Carlos Tevez, helped Manchester City maintain their quest for a first English league title in 44 years with a 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday.
Branislav Ivanovic scored a superb extra-time goal to put Chelsea through to the quarterfinals of the European Champions League, while Real Madrid also progressed Wednesday.
"Arsenal beat Milan 3-0, so we have to believe we can turn it around," says Roberto di Matteo, who'll be running things for Chelsea for the rest of the season. His team actually has a less onerous task than Arsenal, on paper, with a 2-0 win enough to see them through and the mood in camp decidedly different since Andre Villas-Boas was given the boot.
Didier Drogba scored his 100th English Premier League goal as Chelsea edged 10-man Stoke 1-0 at Stamford Bridge Saturday.
Chelsea battled to a 2-0 win at second flight Birmingham City in an FA Cup replay Tuesday in Roberto di Matteo's first game since taking over from the sacked Andre Villas-Boas.
Chelsea sacked manager Andre Villas-Boas Sunday, citing poor results which threaten their participation in next season's Champions League.
Chelsea's sacking of Andre Villas-Boas came under fire Monday with former Blues boss Luis Felipe Scolari warning it will be "hell" for whoever succeeds the Portuguese at Stamford Bridge.
Andre Villas-Boas' troubles as Chelsea manager deepened on Saturday as he watched his side go down to a 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.
Roberto Mancini and Andre Villas-Boas have had sharply contrasting fortunes this season, but both managers celebrated vital victories in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Under-fire Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has again confirmed he has the full backing of the club's owners -- although he admitted his tenure would be easier if they publicly supported him rather than doing it in private.
Substitute Javier Hernandez scored a late header as champions Manchester United fought back from three goals down to earn a remarkable 3-3 Premier League draw at Chelsea on Sunday.
Chelsea's title chances took another dent on Saturday as they dropped points away to Norwich City in the English Premier League.
Chelsea have completed the signing of England international defender Gary Cahill from Premier League rivals Bolton Wanderers for a fee of $10.7m.
The January transfer window: a mid-campaign silly season to send even the most sensible commentators doolally. Andy Carroll back to Newcastle? Sure, why not. Lionel Messi to West Brom? You heard it here first! January always lands a few surprises, but here are some of the storylines I'll be keeping an eye on over the next few weeks.
Chelsea's slender title hopes in the English Premier League all but disappeared after a sorry 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa Saturday.
England soccer captain John Terry will be charged with racially abusing another player, the UK's Crown Prosecution Service said Wednesday.
Don Riddell talks to former English FA Chief Executive David Davies about John Terry's case and racism in soccer.
Chelsea captain John Terry is an iconic figure with the English football club's fans as a result of his on-field achievements in more than 15 years at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City's unbeaten Premier League run came to an end on Monday as Chelsea blew the English title race wide open with a 2-1 victory at home to their 10-man opponents.
Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua have pulled off an audacious transfer coup by signing former France international Nicolas Anelka from English team Chelsea.
The irony is that, this time, it probably wasn't his fault. Mikel John Obi took a lot of the blame for Liverpool's opening goal against Chelsea on Sunday, but he was put in an almost impossible position by Petr Cech's goal-kick. Charlie Adam, anticipating superbly, was already on him by the time the ball reached him and, with both Chelsea center backs marked, and no other player in his field of vision, there were only two options: to attempt a highly risky backpass to Cech, or to try to turn and play the ball forward. Mikel went for the latter, was probably fouled and, when no free kick was given, lost possession to leave Liverpool with a three-on-two it exploited clinically.
Chelsea officials have condemned chants from the English football club's own supporters during Tuesday's European Champions League match away to Belgian team Genk.
The recent incident involving Chelsea and England captain John Terry and Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand has seen the issue of racism in football dominate the headlines.
There was one doubt about Andre Villas-Boas when he arrived at Chelsea in the summer. Astonishing as Porto was last season -- it won a treble of Europa League, Portuguese Cup and Portuguese League (in which it dropped only four points) -- it never really faced a test. Sporting is at a low ebb and Benfica looks much stronger this season, while in Europe it faced no side from England, Germany, Italy or France. Of teams from the top five leagues in Europe, Porto met only Sevilla and Villarreal.
London's Metropolitan Police on Tuesday said they are investigating allegations that Chelsea and England captain John Terry aimed a racial slur at an opposing player during an English Premier League match last month.
A Robin van Persie hat-trick earned Arsenal a thrilling 5-3 win over their west London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League on Saturday.
Chelsea have warned a group of supporters they are slowing the progress of the English Premier League outfit after they opted not to return the freehold to the club's Stamford Bridge stadium.
Italian giants Juventus celebrate the official opening of their new home.
Roman Abramovich is seeking to buy back Chelsea's home ground in order to switch to a new location that he hopes will help the English Premier League club remain competitive on an international scale.
The two key figures in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Swansea City on Saturday weren't on the pitch at the final whistle. They weren't even in sight of it, Fernando Torres having been sent off and Frank Lampard having left the bench a couple of minutes from the end. In their respective narratives is bound up the story of the new Chelsea that is beginning to emerge.
Five thoughts from Saturday's action in the Barclays Premier League ...
In many ways, soccer is the simplest sport: it requires minimal equipment, and the laws are readily understandable. Even offside, the most difficult of the laws, is uncomplicated beside rugby's laws on the breakdown or the lbw law in cricket. And yet, at the same time, soccer evades statistical analysis like no other game. There is no statistic that, taken in isolation, will tell you who has dominated. Even the score line can be deceptive; over a series of games, the best team will usually prevail. In a one-off, though, anybody can beat anybody. That is the beauty of soccer, but it is also what must make it a desperately frustrating game for coaches. In most respects Chelsea was the better side; but it was Manchester United who won, 3-1.
CNN's Don Riddell asks Ray Wilkins and Chris Coleman about the fixtures for the 2011-12 Barclays Premier League.
As the Barclays Premier League season goes in to its final weekend, let's take a look back at how things have panned out for each club since August:
All that talk of this Manchester United team being the poorest champion of the Premier League era feels a little silly now. Almost surreptitiously United has become a very good side indeed. Talk of Chelsea being resurgent also seems a little misplaced: against United, particularly early on, it looked again aging and slow, stumbling around hopelessly like a grandfather trying to keep up with a hyperactive toddler. The difference in class was vast, and at halftime the fact that the two sides began the day only three points apart seemed incomprehensible.
Sunday's meeting between Manchester United and Chelsea hardly wants for dramatic potential; it is, effectively, a title decider, and we haven't had a match like this since 1989 when second-placed Arsenal traveled to Anfield on the final day needing to win by two goals against Liverpool.
There's no doubt that all eyes are focused on Sunday's big game in the Barclays Premier League when Chelsea travels to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney's goal at Stamford Bridge last week gives Manchester United the advantage going in to the second leg at Old Trafford, but Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has been thumbing through Jose's Big Book of Managerial Mind Games in an attempt to level the playing field.
Sir Alex Ferguson reckons soccer players don't really do revenge, but the 2008 Champions League final penalty shootout will surely be at the forefront of Chelsea minds. That and the fact that a not particularly brilliant Manchester United side might win the treble if someone doesn't stop them soon.
Tactical thoughts on the first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals:
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.
"Chelsea won't go out against Copenhagen." So says Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, almost as if he think it won't be worth tuning in for this one. And in truth, FC Copenhagen was the team that everybody in the Champions League round of 16 wanted to be drawn against.
This season has encouraged a deal more introspection at the top of the table than we're used to seeing; the points totals alone tell you that the Premier League's traditional top three have not had it all their own way. Manchester United stuttered through eight draws away from home before finally surrendering its unbeaten run (and "Crap Invincibles" tag) at Wolves this month -- its road form hasn't ranked lower for 20 years. Arsenal has suffered shocking home defeats to West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. And then there's Chelsea.
By the time Fernando Torres actually signed his contract with Chelsea on Monday, there were less than 15 minutes of the transfer window remaining. The clock was ticking, and when he put pen to paper, there was relief more than joy. His situation had reached a point of no return, he was in a corner, and yet the risk of having to return felt real. At times during deadline day, Torres had doubted the deal would go through. But a tense and difficult day -- a tense and difficult few months -- finally ended well for Torres. He got what he wanted.
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.
It has been exactly one year since I traveled 44 hours to Angola to interview Didier Drogba, the Chelsea and Ivory Coast superstar, for a story in Sports Illustrated magazine leading up to last year's World Cup. He couldn't have been more accommodating, spending 90 minutes talking to me in his private bungalow on the heavily fortified Ivory Coast team base in Cabinda during the African Cup of Nations.
Under normal circumstances in the Premier League, you'd look at a side that was five points clear with a quarter of the season played and assume it was strolling toward the title. These, though, are not normal circumstances.
Thoughts on the weekend's action in the Premier League:
Notes from the weekend in the Premier League:
Last month, France won the Under-19 European Championships on home soil by beating Spain 2-1 in the final. It was the nation's first youth title since 2005, when a side that contained Yoann Gourcuff, Abou Diaby and Hugo Lloris won the same tournament in Northern Ireland.
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:
No team, in the Premier League era, has gone into the last day of the season top of the table and failed to win the title. That, and the fact that Chelsea had only to win a home game (it'd dropped just four points all season at Stamford Bridge), told you that it would end today as champions no matter what violence Manchester United did to Stoke's top-half ambitions at Old Trafford.
With the final day's Premier League action looming, it had seemed appropriate to engineer a way to have dramatic music boom out at you as you clicked on this page. But after Tottenham went and beat Manchester City on Wednesday to secure at least fourth place and a berth in the Champions League, bringing resolution to one suspenseful storyline, we didn't bother.
How the crowing must be reverberating around London's N17 postcode, the home of Tottenham Hotspur and 36,000 fans who don't know whether to stock their medicine cabinet with uppers or downers these days. One minute they're having to cope with defeat to Sunderland and a muted reverse at the hands of Portsmouth in the FA Cup semifinal, the next they've secured spine-tingling 2-1 wins over beloved neighbors Arsenal and old chums Chelsea.
Hats off to Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, who surprised everyone -- perhaps even Didier Drogba himself -- by leaving his leading goal scorer on the bench against Manchester United and fielding the same starting 11 that had demolished Aston Villa the week before.
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 visits Manchester United on Saturday for what is being billed as the critical match in this year's Premiership title race. And though both teams have at least one game to follow that will further test their mettle -- United has yet to visit neighbor City; Chelsea travels to Tottenham in two weeks and goes to Anfield to face Liverpool on the penultimate weekend of the season -- this is certainly the game that could put some daylight between the two.
What a difference a week makes. Twelve goals in two games has put Chelsea right on the shoulder of Manchester United -- its opponent this weekend -- and given the Blues the Premier League's healthiest goal difference.
As a lone infantryman wistfully bugles a lamenting Last Post into the chill twilight air, Team Limey stands forlornly on the battlements of Castle Limey contemplating our final EPL column for SI.com. Together, over a last pint of ale, let's relive some highlights from our five years here. And what a five years it's been.
As Chelsea and Inter Milan prepare to face each other, their players and managers make headlines off the pitch.
Last weekend's English Premier League results had a season-defining air about them, with the destination of the trophy suddenly looking much clearer and the race for the remaining Champion League places looking more open than ever.
FIFA bans Chelsea from buying new players until 2011 after it breached transfer rules. CNN's Alex Thomas reports.
Finally, the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League draw is done and we know who's playing who and when.
After a summer of increasingly intensive thumb-twiddling and hours spent aimlessly wandering the corridors of Castle Limey, the excitement is at fever pitch as the English Premier League season returns this weekend. Last week we gave you our predictions for the season, and this week we're taking a detailed look at the first couple of fixtures following the big kick-off.
New Chelsea FC manager Carlo Ancelotti gives his first press conference on hopes of winning the Champions League.
Credit crunch and slow economy be damned, the soccer world is still spinning from the record-busting $131 million fee Real Madrid is on the verge of pumping into Manchester United's coffers for FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. That's on top of the $92 million the mysteriously loaded Spaniards already paid for last year's World Player of the Year, Kaká. But there's far more to come in the transfer market. This week, we run through the English Premier League looking at possible transfer targets, and who might be heading for the exit door.
Everton goes into Saturday's FA Cup final as underdogs riding on a high. After claiming the scalps of two "Big Four" teams -- Manchester United and Liverpool -- en route to the final, it clinched fifth place in the Premier League for the second year running.
Before Chelsea had Roman Abramovich's rubles and Rafa Benítez built Liverpool into Champions League winners and English Premier League challengers, Manchester United and Arsenal dominated the EPL throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. On Saturday, the former "big two" face off after having taken contrasting paths in recent years.
Three English teams clinched the semifinals of the European Champions League this week, representing the Premier League's finest hour since ... well, since last season, when three English teams achieved the same feat. As they did the season before that. Indeed, only a much-fancied Barcelona side can prevent a second all-England final. With Team Limey all cock-a-hoop with jingoistic cockiness, we look back at those quarterfinal second legs, starting with the thriller at Stamford Bridge.
Ordinarily, Manchester United making a trip to Craven Cottage isn't much of a story. Fulham hasn't beaten United at home in league play since 1964. But an unusually high amount of attention is focused on this weekend's encounter.
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.
To our knowledge, Roman Abramovich has never sung Oops!... I Did It Again at karaoke while wearing a Britney Spears wig. But it would be apt, since the Chelsea owner hastily and mistakenly sacked a manager for the third time in 17 months.
Thanks to Dimitar Berbatov's 90th-minute winner at Bolton last weekend, Manchester United is back on top of the Premier League for the first time this season. Yet it was the 17-time English champions' crosstown rival, Manchester City, who hogged the global spotlight last week.
The headline English Premier League game this weekend sees second-place Chelsea visiting Old Trafford to face third-place Manchester United on Sunday. Usually a close affair, their first EPL meeting of the season was a 1-1 draw, as was their nail-biting Champions League final matchup last May.
LAS VEGAS -- Coming at you with a bucket of hot wings and a, ahem, perfect view at Hooters, it's the Limey. Half of Team Limey is halfway through its American vacation, and this week we've got an exclusive interview with New York Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio, an English perspective on MLS Cup and all the latest English Premier League goings-on.
The greatest show on earth is back in action. If you're looking at these rankings and coming to the conclusion that Champions League play seems to dominate, good for you. That's the biggest mountain-moving criteria we're using this time around. To us, the grandest club tournament in the world is the best gauge to determine who the movers and shakers are.