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Latest

Pep Guardiola faces biggest challenge yet against former club Barcelona

The ESPN FC crew give their take on the SPI prediction that gives Barcelona a slight edge over Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The wonder, and real key to the Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is whether Pep Guardiola has by now found what he describes as the "flash of inspiration ... the moment that makes sense of my profession."

Because, by the time the Bayern coach returns to the luscious lights and 99,000 welcoming fans of the Camp Nou on Wednesday, Guardiola will hope to disappoint those same fans by drawing on what he has deduced from hours spent alone in a darkened room.

It is his preparation...

The tactical keys to Chelsea's Premier League-winning campaign

Jose Mourinho lauded his Chelsea players for the determination, quality and consistency that secured the Blues' fourth Premier League title, following a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.

In the age of tactical flexibility and squad rotation, Chelsea's title has been built on old-fashioned principles. Jose Mourinho has stuck to the same 4-2-3-1 framework throughout the campaign and has used the same players: three are ever-presents in the Premier League, 10 have started at least 26 games and an 11th, Diego Costa, would surely have done likewise but for injuries and suspension.

Chelsea's triumph has been based on key performers playing key roles and, tactically, six men have been particularly...

 By John Duerden

Malaysia's Tengku Abdullah targets Asia growth on FIFA Exco

New FIFA Executive Committee member Prince Tengku Abdullah of Malaysia wants to help Asia reach its full potential.

These days, less and less of the important business of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) takes place in its home city of Kuala Lumpur. But for Malaysia, there was some good news coming out of Bahrain on Thursday night as Prince Tengku Abdullah was elected to FIFA's powerful Executive Committee at the AFC Congress in Manama.

Minutes before the elections started at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel -- with one of the two four-year seats up for grabs -- his Royal Highness spoke with ESPN FC. As...

 By Tim Vickery

Boca Juniors' questionable advantage over River Plate in the Libertadores

Boca Juniors coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena says his side must play smart not rough if they are to beat rivals River Plate in their Copa Libertadores round of 16 tie.

It's first blood to Boca Juniors, then, in the triple dose of Argentina's Superclasico. They struck late to beat Buenos Aires rivals River Plate 2-0 in Sunday's league meeting -- giving them not only three points, but also a big morale boost in the build up to the next pair duels between the eternal rivals.

This Thursday and next they meet home and away in the second round of the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League. Stakes are high; one team goes through to the quarterfinals, the...

 By Jim Daly

Jose Mourinho made his affection for Crystal Palace fans clear in victory

Eden Hazard's header following a saved penalty was enough to secure Chelsea's fourth Premier League title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley joins SportsCenter to discuss Chelsea's dominating title win.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.

The world learnt a few things on Sunday; it learnt that Chelsea are Premier League champions, it learnt that Palace are no pushovers and it also learnt that Jose Mourinho is an Eagle.

Well, sort of.

The Chelsea boss turned to face the Palace fans in the away end at Stamford Bridge at halftime and gave them big thumbs up. They had, of course, been singing their hearts out for 45 minutes. He then turned to the home fans behind the dugout and shook his head before simulating sleep.

"Palace fans are...

Chelsea's excellence far from boring, Man United's loss totally perplexing

Eden Hazard's header following a saved penalty was enough to secure Chelsea's fourth Premier League title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley joins SportsCenter to discuss Chelsea's dominating title win.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.

This week's edition of Heroes and Villains features entire teams that have exemplified their clubs' swings-and-ladders seasons in the Premier League, while goalies were both worshiped and vilified.

HEROES

For all the talk of a tired Chelsea staggering over the line, Jose Mourinho's side won the Premier League title with their sixth win in seven games. Even when they're fatigued and diminished by injury, that's what they do; they win. Over and over again. And when they can't win, they rarely lose....