The Lead

It’s the Alex McLeish school of football management to link player an individual player selection to your team’s success. Unfortunately many this morning are praising interim (?) Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo for picking Salomon Kalou, who scored Chelsea’s only (but vital) away goal against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz.

Not that Di Matteo doesn’t deserve praise for the bold selection, but, barring fitness and mental assessments, a good manager isn’t a seer who can predict which players will have a great night out and which will tank. What’s cloying though is how the Kalou angle has diverted attention from how well-organized his side were in a fixture that was never the bye many believed it would be.

Each individual actor did their duty; John Terry was credible in the back, David Luiz didn’t look the fool, Mikel and Meireles linked up well as Kristian Jack mentioned in his recap last night. Ramires had space to run into, Paulo Ferreira looked confident returning after a long lay-off.

In the end, Di Matteo demonstrated he can do careful and conservative when the fixture calls for it, which will come in handy against either Milan or Barcelona. Food for thought for Di Matteo, Chelsea fans, and Roman Abramovich…

Canada

Could tonight’s CONCACAF Champions League semifinal be just the thing to get Toronto FC “out of their funk?”

It’s not going to be an easy fixture.

Countdown to kick off.

Some random thoughts about the Montreal Impact.

Thar be dragons at Vancouver!

England

Cech remarks on “strange” Chelsea season.

Kalou says Chelsea can win the Champions League, so that’s sorted.

Kenny Dalglish holds out hope Charlie Adams will play at some point before the end of the season.

Five red cards in match between Bradford City and Crawley Town.

Sergio Aguero issues Man City rallying call, yawn.

Is Arsene Wenger planning a fire sale at Arsenal?

Sam Allardyce wallops his critics at West Ham.

England the last of 53 countries to work out a TV rights deal with UEFA.

The FA Cup semis this year will feature two city derbies.

Jonathan Woodgate speaks the truth.

Italy

Milos Krasic isn’t going to leave Juventus for nothing.

If AC Milan are going to pull an upset against Barca, tonight would be the night.

Massimo Moratti somehow manages to blame Gasperini for Ranieri’s sacking.

Moratti also won’t rule out Andrea Stramaccioni staying on.

Germany

Return of the Hunter.

Mighty Munich could be a surprise Champions League finalist for a dream match in their home stadium.

Bits and bobs

Michael Cox does a tactical preview of tonight’s big match between Barca and Milan.

Copa Lib update.

Bad, bad, bad day at the office.