The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Reading FC

At this time of the year, there are a lot of us trying to quantify the unquantifiable. The start of the new football season sees a frantic dash to predict and analyse, but precious few seek to factor in the variables that generate so much of the games appeal in the first place. It’s understandable, of course. Who, for example, might have predicted the knots in which Liverpool found themselves tied up in this time last year? Who would have stuck their neck on the line and taken a punt that Manchester United would score eight against Arsenal but concede six against Manchester City at Old Trafford, and who would have even have guessed the extent to which the latter of these results would turn out to be the one upon which the entire season would pivot? It’s all part of the show, of course, and nowhere is this more apparent than in form. It frequently feels as if good form can come from out of nowhere, and there can be so many factors which affect it that it can be difficult to assess which it was that was responsible. Two seasons ago, Reading FC were defeated in the Championship play-off final by Swansea City having finished in fifth place in the end of season table. As 2011 melted into 2012, though, this team pushed into a run of...

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