Token Soccer Preview of the Week

>> Thursday

With hundreds of games around the world every weekend, it's always tough to pick one to single out for my token preview.

This week, it's Chelsea vs. Reading in the EPL.

This game is probably the equivalent of the Tigers-Yankees series abroad. Chelsea has a payroll of 108.9 million pounds ($204,644,882) and are the defending Premier League Champions. Reading is the defending Second Division Champions, and are in their first season ever in the Premier League, where they are the feel-good story of the year so far. What's the difference? Only 3 points.

After 7 matches, Chel$ea is on top of the Premiership with 16 points (5-1-1). Newcomer Reading is off to a fantastic start as well, with 13 points from 7 matches (4-2-1). Reading gets this match at home, and is certain to have a raucous crowd eager for the upset. Reading stars and American internationals Marcus Hannehman (GK) and Bobby Convey (MF) have adapted to the pace of the EPL quite well (and on an unrelated note both are on my fantasy team), but will meet a different test in seeing all the big names (seen above) for Chel$ea walking onto the field.

Although earning an impressive 1-1 draw against Manchester United two weeks ago, the Royals have yet to meet a test as stiff as the best team money can buy. Chelsea is on a five-match unbeaten streak, but delivered a half-assed draw at home against Aston Villa last weekend. Reading has a potential to score a lot of goals (led Second Division last season) but with a firm Chelsea keeper and a more than passable backline, I figure this match to end in a draw. 1-1 most likely, wouldn't be surprised at 2-2.

My pick: Draw


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