Chelsea welcome Reading to Stamford Bridge tonight for their first home game of the new season. After a 2-0 win away to Wigan at the weekend, the Blues will be hoping to continue their positive start in front of their own fans but The Royals will have something to say about that.
Reading started their new campaign with a point against Stoke on Saturday after a late penalty from Adam Le Fondre following a game in which they dominated possession 59% to 41% but manager Brian McDermott will be looking for a more clinical touch from his attackers after they only managed 3 shots on target out of 9 overall.
The European Champions didn’t have such a problem in front of goal, they scored 2 goals from 3 on target out of 5 shots. They also had the stranglehold over possession, taking 56% to Wigan’s 44%. But, the Blues will be looking to make better use of that control, they allowed the Latics to get 12 shots away but were fortunate that only 4 troubled Petr Cech’s goal.
The only change in Chelsea’s team could be a place for the returning Ramires who missed their opener at the DW Stadium due to illness. Marko Marin remains on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. There are no new injury concerns within the squad.
Reading are without Jem Karacan who hasn’t recovered from his leg injury. They are also missing Jason Roberts who is suspended and Jimmy Kebe who has a hamstring injury as well. Stuart Taylor is unlikely to start for his new club, but is an option now that his transfer has cleared.
Recent history doesn’t look good for Reading fans, their team have never beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and have to go back to 1987 for their last win against the Blues – winning 3-1 at home.
In the four Premier League meetings between these two, Chelsea have won 3 times with 1 draw. Each win however was by a one-goal margin, the draw being a 2-2 result in West London in 2006.
A positive for Reading is that they come into the game having only lost 2 in their last 10 league games whilst Chelsea have only won 5 of their last 10 league games.
Tonight sees two Russian billionaires pit their squads against each other, one a newly promoted Reading the other the current European Champions. One led by an attacking quartet valued at over £100 million the other with a first eleven worth less than one quarter of that front line.