BARCA-CHELSEA III: With a Vengeance, apparently!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

>> Tuesday

Since there's no football or baseball on this week on Wednesday afternoon, sports fans out of work looking to avoid Cold Pizza might want to check out Matchday 3 of the Champions League. On ESPN2 in the afternoon (or maybe ESPN Deportes, or ESPN Classic), reigning Spanish and European Champion FC Barcelona will take on English Premier League Champion Chelsea FC. (Thanks to for the ridiculously over-the-top, overdramatic, but well-edited preview video).

International rivalries are rare in soccer, due largely to the infrequency of meeting, but Barca-Chelsea bucks that trend. The teams with two of the most expensive payrolls in the world have met in the Round of 16 in each of the last two seasons. This season, they meet in the group stage, and a loss by Barca (1-0-1) in this game has the potential to doom them to the NIT of soccer, the UEFA Cup. A win all but assures Chelsea a spot in the knockout stages. Two seasons ago, it was a goal-scoring fiesta, last season, it was a bloodbath. You just don't know with Barca-Chelsea.

The two teams rosters run like a veritable who's who of international soccer. Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Lampard, Shevchenko, Drogba, Essien, Terry, Cole, Ballack. Even if you don't follow the game as closely as I do, you surely recognize at least one of those names from the World Cup this summer.

I'd like to pick Chelsea, seeing as they are at home, but I think Barca needs this game more, and the injury to Chelsea keeper Petr Cech over the weekend might be enough to give Barca a result.


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