On Monday, Chelsea won the UEFA Youth League, beating Shakhtar Donetsk in the final 3-2. The competition is sort of like a junior varsity Champions League: the 32 clubs who participate in the group stage of big boys' competition send out essentially an under-19 team composed, this season, of players who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.
Chelsea do extremely well in youth competitions. The UEFA Youth League has been running for two years and before that, for two seasons you had the NextGen series,...
There's a temptation (perhaps understandably) to ascribe deeper meaning to the outcome of a football match. In this case, United's 4-2 thumping of City in the Manchester derby is hailed as some sort of passing of the torch -- or, Sir Alex Ferguson might say, a resumption of normal service -- with the blue half on the slide and the red half on the rise.
Did the 90 minutes reflect that? Yes.
You can point to City dominating the early exchanges and taking the lead. You can note how United's equalizer...
Maybe Reading will knock them out of the FA Cup. Maybe Chelsea will beat them at the Emirates or they'll lose to Manchester United and drop points foolishly against the likes of Hull or Sunderland or Burnley. Maybe they'll barely scrape into the Champions League, leaving the commentariat to chuckle and poke each other in the ribs as they point to Arsene Wenger's "fourth-place trophy".
Maybe you can distill it down to some kind of scientific axiom: the greater the number of individual superstars on the pitch, the greater the chance that a moment of genius, magic or what you might otherwise call unaccountable skill will be the difference between the two.
Barcelona and Real Madrid both had spells in which they enjoyed the upper hand in Sunday's Clasico, but only the Catalans had Luis Suarez and the move he pulled 10 minutes into the second half.
Chelsea have two wins in six games, following the 1-1 home draw with Southampton, and the fact that their lead at the top of the Premier League table -- courtesy of Manchester City's defeat at Burnley -- has increased to six points is not down to them.
With such a margin and a game in hand, it would take a cataclysm for Jose Mourinho not to win his third league title at Stamford Bridge. With the League Cup already in the bag, it's a successful campaign for the "Special One."
You've probably heard this before: "Those who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it."
You wonder whether Florentino Perez has. On Tuesday night his expensively assembled Real Madrid team was booed off the pitch at the Bernabeu, following a 4-3 home defeat to Schalke. It was the club's second straight loss (after the 1-0 setback against Athletic Bilbao, which cost them top spot in La Liga) and it marked only the second time in history that Real had conceded four goals at the Bernabeu...