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Le Fondre (87)
Le Fondre (90 + 5)
Mata (45 + 1)
Lampard (66)
Barclays Premier League

Madejski Stadium

Wed 30 Jan 2013 20:00 (Attendance: 24,097)


The away games keep coming with the trip to Berkshire the third in a sequence of four. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton hit the road again…

Pecked by the Swans, stung by the Bees, Chelsea mislaid one match (the Capital One Cup final) and gained another (the fourth round FA Cup replay at the Bridge on Sunday 17 February) over the last week. We remain on course for a record number of matches in one season.

By beating last season's Championship winners Reading 4-2 at the Bridge back in August, Chelsea went top of the table for the first time since the successive defeats by Sunderland and Birmingham City in November 2010.

Eden Hazard, suspended from tonight's encounter, was the catalyst for the gung-ho Blues, who took an early lead but were rocked by two quick strikes from the visitors. Substitute Daniel Sturridge provided the impetus for his side to regain the initiative with three decisive goals in the last quarter of the game.

Reading have won their last four games and five of the last six in all competitions.

It was not an entirely convincing victory and Chelsea have since dropped points against Reading's fellow new boys West Ham and at home to Southampton. Surprisingly, promoted sides have hit seven league goals against the champions of Europe this season. This is a relatively new reversion to an age-old problem.

The Londoners were famous for decades for beating the best and losing to the lowly. Yet that old inconsistency dropped away in the 1990s. Up until the defeat at QPR in 2011/12, in fact, the Pensioners had been unbeaten against newly promoted teams for over 11 years. QPR, again, and West Ham have both since managed to defeat Chelsea.

It's true 2011/12 was the first for more than a decade in which all promoted sides maintained their first-tier status, and the Royals are the most endangered of the new intake.

And although they are in good form, prior to the present sequence of four successive victories in league and FA Cup they had not strung two wins together all campaign. They are currently one point from safety.

Reading may also have the worst second-half record in the Barclays Premier League this season, but the Blues have been far more effective in the first half of matches too.

The 'first 45' Chelsea have a record bettered only by Manchester United, with 26 goals scored and just eight conceded. Over the second periods of games we have scored five fewer and let in six more.

Throughout the season the Royals have been involved in huge aggregate scorelines, including a 2-5 and 5-7 with Arsenal, a 3-4 at home to Manchester United, a 3-3 with Fulham and, of course, that 2-4 against Chelsea (pictured below). All except the Blues' victory were at the Madejski Stadium.

Chelsea v Reading

The Blues have enjoyed success in the last four away trips in the league with an aggregate scoreline of 10-2, ending the unbeaten records of Everton and Stoke in the process. It is a momentum that could be crucial as the Blues look to finish as high as possible in the league.

Barclays Premier League fixtures
Arsenal v Liverpool 7.45pm - Sky Sports
Everton v West Brom 7.45pm
Fulham v West Ham 8pm
Manchester United v Southampton 8pm
Norwich v Tottenham 7.45pm
Reading v Chelsea 8pm

Barclays Premier League table
Top Pld Gd Pts
1 Man Utd 23 +27 56
2 Man City 24 +26 52
3 Chelsea 23 +25 45
4 Tottenham 23 +12 41
5 Everton 23 +9 38
6 Arsenal 23 +19 37
15 Newcastle 24 -12 24
16 Southampton 23 -10 23
17 Wigan 24 -18 20
18 Aston Villa 24 -26 20
19 Reading 23 -15 19
20 QPR 24 -19 16


The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 18
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 16
Demba Ba (13 for Newcastle) 14
Michu (Swansea) 13

Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Clean sheets
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 11
Petr Cech 9
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 9

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Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton continue their look at tonight's game...

Key battles
In contrast to the FA Cup-holders' away draw at the weekend, Reading enjoyed a one-sided 4-0 victory over Sheffield United and rested one or two regulars.

More than half star performer Adam Le Fondre's appearances have started from the bench. Before last weekend the only full 90 minutes he had played in 2013 was the previous 3-1 FA Cup win at Crawley.

The best indication of his effectiveness is that in his last 47 minutes of Premier League football the 26-year-old has hit three goals. He is not the traditional English centre-forward, liking the ball played along the ground, and is adept at finding dangerous areas in the final third and shoots virtually on sight.

John Terry began his return to match fitness at Griffin Park on Sunday and is more likely to face the more physical presence of Pavel Pogrebnyak (pictured below) should he retain his place, as seems likely.

Pogrebnyak and Terry

Terry's leadership and communication were evident on Sunday and have been sorely missed since he hobbled off against Liverpool in mid-November, having scored the opening goal.

Rafael Benitez must decide whom to play alongside Terry and whether to reinstate the partially rested Cesar Azpilicueta at right-back.

The manager has confirmed Petr Cech's absence this evening but forecast his possible return at St James' Park at the weekend.

Reading boss Brian McDermott has used a defensive 4-5-1 formation in recent games, with two of his wingers Jimmy Kébé, Jobi McAnuff and Gareth McLeary asked to work up and down the flanks tirelessly. Teams that have sat back and deployed hard-working widemen have enjoyed notable success against Chelsea all season.

Without the game-changing trickery and pace of Eden Hazard and Victor Moses down the lines the Blues may find it even harder to break teams down. The progress of Moses and fellow Nigerian John Mikel Obi at the Africa Cup of Nations means they will not return from South Africa before the Wigan game at the earliest.

Juan Mata should return to the starting line-up and possibly Demba Ba, one man who will definitely fancy his chances of scoring tonight. The Senegalese striker hit both Newcastle United's goals in their 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium in September, the first with a magnificent striding volley, the second under a suspicion of handball.

Meanwhile, at Brentford Fernando Torres hit his first goal since the opener in the 8-0 pre-Christmas thrashing of Aston Villa. It was set up by substitute Ba, who was playing alongside him - more food for thought for Chelsea's manager.

Squad fitness news
Petr Cech (calf), David Luiz (ankle) and Oriol Romeu (knee) are unavailable for Chelsea.

Reading are without striker Jason Roberts (hip) problem while fellow forward Noel Hunt is a doubt.

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This fixture was first played in November 1926 in Division Two, although there was one FA Cup meeting at Elm Park in January 1921, a 0-0 draw.

The legacy of our most memorable league encounter is still visible most matchdays - Petr Cech's cap. The Chelsea goalie was hospitalised after Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt, in his first Premier League start, caught him on the head in the opening minutes of a match in October 2006.

Carlo Cudicini replaced the Czech before being stretched off himself after a clattering from defender Ibrahima Sonko towards the close of play. Emergency keeper John Terry saw out the last moments between the sticks.

Earlier Mourinho's Chelsea had pressed for the breakthrough and when Ivar Ingimarsson met Paulo Ferreira's whipped cross he was fortunate to see it rebound off the bar with Marcus Hahnemann beaten.

Winger Arjen Robben and strikers Andriy Shevchenko and Didier Drogba put further pressure on the Royals goal before Sonko fouled Frank Lampard on the edge of the area just before the break.

The midfielder recovered to drive a low shot past Hahnemann off Ingimarsson's boot and put the Blues a goal to the good. Despite two sendings-off - Mikel for Chelsea and André Bikey for the hosts - Chelsea held on to the lead, with Drogba hooking a Nicky Shorey header off the line to help secure the three points.

Reading v Chelsea

Today Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten record against the Royals to eight games. We have won six and drawn one of the last seven meetings.

The Royals' last league win against the Blues was 83 years ago in March 1930 at Elm Park in the old Second Division when goals from Alf Messer, Walter Baggett and Frank McPherson secured the points at Elm Park. Harold Miller scored for the Blues. George Pearson missed a penalty.

Our six league games at Reading
1926/27 Reading won 2-1 Old Division 2
1927/28 Chelsea won 2-1 Old Division 2
1928/29 Drew 3-3 Old Division 2
1929/30 Reading won 3-1 Old Division 2
2006/07 Chelsea won 1-0 Premier League
2007/08 Chelsea won 2-1 Premier League





The reverse match this season
22 August 2012 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea………..……4 Reading…..……….….2
Lampard 18 pen           Pogrebnyak 24
Cahill 69                         Guthrie 29
Torres 81
Ivanovic 90+5
                       Att: 41,733

Chelsea v Reading in all competitions
Games played 19
Chelsea wins10
Royals wins 3
Draws 6

Head to head in the league at Reading
Games played 6
Chelsea wins 3
Royals wins 2
Draws 1

Biggest league win at Reading for each team
Reading 1-2 Chelsea - 27/08/1927, 15/08/2007
Reading 3-1 Chelsea - 01/03/1930


Chelsea dropped points away in the Premier League: 60
Reading lost at home in the Premier League:44
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,810
Liverpool won the league: 8,305

Visit again at lunchtime for part two of the Briefing.

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Chelsea's defeat at West Ham in December was our only our second reverse in the last 70 games against newly promoted teams in 12 years. We have won 56 of those matches.

The Blues are unbeaten away in eight games in all competitions (six wins, two draws) since our last defeat at West Ham on 1 December.

Of the 15 occasions Chelsea have opened the scoring in the Barclays Premier League, we have gone on to win 11 games and draw three. Only West Ham have defeated us.

Chelsea have the second best defensive league record behind Man City conceding 22 goals with nine clean sheets.

The Blues are 13 points better off compared to the corresponding 23 fixtures last season.

We have gained 12 points from losing positions this term. Only Man Utd (24), Everton (20) and Man City (15) can better that.

Last six results
Jan 9 Swansea (League Cup semi-final 1st leg h) L 0-2
Jan 12 Stoke (a) W 4-0
Jan 16 Southampton (h) D 2-2
Jan 20 Arsenal (h) W 2-1
Jan 23 Swansea (League Cup SF 2 a) D 0-0
Jan 27 Brentford (FA Cup 4 a) D 2-2

Premier League scorers
Lampard 8 (4 pens), Mata 8, Torres 7 (1 pen), E Hazard 6 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Ba 1, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, Terry 1, own goals (Walters, Stoke) 2. Total 47

League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 6
An away defeat: 4

Chelsea's next three games
Sat 2 Feb Newcastle away 3pm
Sat 9 Feb Wigan home 3pm
Thu 14 Feb Sparta Prague (Europa League) away 6pm GMT

If selected, Gary Cahill will play his 50th game for the club and Fernando Torres will make his 50th Premier League start for Chelsea.


Major trophies

Reading's minor honours include the Full Members' Cup in 1988 and the 2005/06 and 2011/12 Football League Championship as well as several lower division championships.

Reading have played 12 fewer games than Chelsea.

Reading are in their best form of the season winning nine points from the last 12. They have gained 11 points from losing positions this season.

Only Wigan, with 25, have conceded more league goals at home this season than Reading's 21.

The Royals have won 14 points from a possible 33 at the Madjeski this term with three wins against Everton, West Ham and West Brom, five draws against Stoke, Newcastle, Fulham, Norwich and Swansea and three defeats to Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Reading have conceded the first goal in 13 of their 23 league matches and have come back to win in three of them.

Manager Brian McDermott
Days in charge: 1,141
Played 162
Won 75
Drawn 42
Lost 45

Royals' last 10 year league history

Pts Pos Division Level
2002/03 79 4th Division One 2
2003/04 70 9th Division One 2
2004/05 70 7th Championship 2
2005/06 106 1st Championship 2
2006/07 55 8th Premier League 1
2007/08 36 18th Premier League 1
2008/09 77 4th Championship 2
2009/10 63 9th Championship 2
2010/11 77 5th Championship 2
2011/12 89 1st Championship 2




Last six results
Dec 29 West Ham (h) W 1-0
Jan 1 Tottenham (a) L 1-3
Jan 5 Crawley (FA Cup 3 a) W 3-1
Jan 12 West Brom (h) W 3-2
Jan 19 Newcastle (a) W 2-1
Jan 26 Sheffield United (FA Cup 4 h) W 4-0

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Le Fondre 8 (3 pens), Pogrebnyak 5, Kébé 3, Robson-Kanu 3, Hunt 2, Morrison 2, Gorkss 1, Guthrie 1, Leigertwood 1, McCleary 1, own goals 1. Total 28

League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 2
A home defeat: 3

Completed January transfers
Ins Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Lucas Piazon (Malaga, loan), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan)
Ins Hope Akpan (Crawley Town, undisclosed), Daniel Carrico (Sporting Lisbon, £609,000), Stephen Kelly (Fulham, undisclosed)
Outs Gozie Ugwu (Plymouth, loan), Dominic Samuel (Colchester, loan)

Mark Halsey handled the Blues' 3-1 win at Sunderland in December; he was in charge during Reading's 3-4 home defeat by Manchester United the week before.

Eden Hazard is suspended (second of three games).

Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi are away with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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Reading v Chelsea


  • 1
    Adam Federici
  • 27
    Stephen Kelly
  • 5
    Alex Pearce
  • 6
    Adrian Mariappa
  • 23
    Ian Harte
  • 14
    Jimmy Kebe
  • 4
    Jem Karacan Substitution
  • 8
    Mikele Leigertwood
  • 20
    Danny Guthrie Substitution
  • 11
    Jobi McAnuff Substitution
  • 7
    Pavel Pogrebnyak


  • 15
    Sean Morrison
  • 19
    Hal Robson-Kanu
  • 12
    Garath McCleary Substitution
  • 9
    Adam Le Fondre Substitution
  • 3
    Nicky Shorey
  • 28
    Hope Akpan Substitution
  • 41
    Stuart Taylor
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Most fouls
Yellow Cards
Red Cards


  • 22
    Ross Turnbull
  • 28
    Cesar Azpilicueta
  • 2
    Branislav Ivanovic
  • 24
    Gary Cahill
  • 3
    Ashley Cole
  • 10
    Substitution Juan Mata
  • 7
    Nascimento Ramires
  • 8
    Frank Lampard
  • 11
    Emboaba Oscar
  • 34
    Ryan Bertrand
  • 9
    Substitution Fernando Torres


  • 29
    Substitution Demba Ba
  • 40
    Henrique Hilario
  • 26
    John Terry
  • 57
    Nathan Ake
  • 30
    Substitution Yossi Benayoun
  • 19
    Paulo Ferreira
  • 21
    Marko Marin

Reading vs Chelsea Highlights

Video thumbnail Play
Reading 2 Chelsea 2
Match highlights from the Madejski Stadium
10:11 min


The Blues allow a two-goal advantage to slip very late in the game, and head home with only a point when for much of the game all three appeared to be in the bag.

Juan Mata had given us the lead with practically the last kick of the first half, exchanging passes with Fernando Torres, before sending his first-time effort into the far corner.

Frank Lampard made it 2-0 20 minutes into the second half with a perfectly-executed header, a goal which appeared to knock the stuffing out of the home side.

Three minutes from time, however, Reading pulled one back through substitute Adam Le Fondre, who latched on to a Hope Akpan pass and crashed his strike past Turnbull.

Ramires went close to restoring our two-goal lead straight from kick-off, forcing a magnificent save from Adam Federici, but Reading salvaged a point right at the death when Le Fondre arrived at the far-post to volley home after the Blues had failed to clear our lines.

We now need to lift ourselves ahead of a trip to Newcastle on Saturday.

Team news
Rafael Benitez made two changes from the side which drew 2-2 in the FA Cup at Brentford on Sunday. John Terry, who made his first start since November at Griffin Park, dropped down to the bench, with Cesar Azpilicueta coming back into the side, and Branislav Ivanovic moving inside to partner Gary Cahill. Elsewhere, Mata returned to the starting line-up having come on as a half-time substitute at the weekend, with Marko Marin the player making way, while Ryan Bertrand retained his place in the side, returning to the club where he enjoyed a loan spell back during the 2009/10 campaign. For the second game in succession, Torres, whose late equaliser rescued us at Brentford, was preferred to Demba Ba.

First half
The Blues were on the front-foot early on and forced three corners within the opening six minutes as we attempted to seize the advantage, and it was from the second of those where we had our first real sight of goal.

Frank Lampard, captain for the night in the absence of Terry, swung his delivery to the far-post where Bertrand arrived to head it back into the six-yard box, but as Cahill looked set to pounce, Alex Pearce cleared for the home side.

Pavel Pogrebnyak, who broke the deadlock in the corresponding fixture at Stamford Bridge, did enough in that game to suggest Branislav Ivanovic and Cahill would have their hands full, and so it proved during the opening exchanges, as his physical presence drew two early fouls from the defensive duo.

Reading v Chelsea

The Blues were enjoying plenty of possession without seriously troubling the Reading back four and, as the 20-minute mark approached, both goalkeepers were yet to make a save of any note.

We had what appeared to be a legitimate free-kick appeal waved away on the edge of the box when Mata and Oscar's exchange of passes was intercepted by Mikele Leigertwood, and soon after we should have opened the scoring.

Jobi McAnuff became the first player to enter referee Mark Halsey's book for a late challenge on Oscar, and from the resulting kick Lampard picked out the unmarked Cahill, who sent his header inches past Adam Federici's left-hand post.

Brian McDermott's side went into the game having won their last four matches in all competitions, including back-to-back victories in the league against West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United, but they struggled to impose themselves for much of the first half, leaving Ross Turnbull as a virtual spectator.

Five minutes before the break we eventually got in behind the Reading defence; Mata picked out Oscar with a delicate, floated pass, and as the Brazilian brought the ball under control, it rolled into the path of Torres, whose shot flew harmlessly across the penalty area and out of play.

The pressure, though, had been gradually building, and right on the stroke of half-time we took the lead with a goal that was made in Spain.

Mata fed Torres on the edge of the box, and the striker showed great vision to pick out his fellow countryman's run, playing a delightful pass back into his path, which Mata fired past Federici into the bottom corner for his 15th goal of the season.

Reading v Chelsea

Second half
Nine minutes into the second half we came close to extending our lead, and what a goal it would have been.

Lampard, so often the orchestrator, picked up possession deep inside the Reading half and floated a delightful pass into the path of the advancing Oscar, who brought the ball down on his chest, swivelled and fired a brilliant volley inches narrowly wide of Federici's right-hand post.

Reading v Chelsea

Just after the hour mark another fantastic opportunity went begging. Lampard won the ball back and ran at the retreating Reading defence before threading a pass into the path of Oscar; the youngster could have shot, but opted to tee up Torres, and as the Spaniard looked certain to score, Adrian Mariappa somehow managed to get there first and clear the danger.

The hosts weren't so fortunate from the resulting corner, however, as the Blues doubled our advantage.

Mata turned from scorer to provider, sending his delivery into a crowded penalty area where Lampard climbed highest and headed powerfully past Federici into the roof of the net, sending the away fans packed-in behind the goal wild.

Reading v Chelsea

It was the midfielder's 10th goal of the season in all competitions and his 196th for the club, leaving him only six goals behind Bobby Tambling in the all-time list.

The second goal put us firmly in control of the game, and Rafael Benitez, perhaps sensing the hardest work had been done, made his first substitution of the night, replacing Mata with Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli's first appearance in a Chelsea shirt since the opening day of last season.

Reading refused to cave in after our second goal, and went close twice in quick succession through substitutes Hope Akpan and Adam Le Fondre, but with time ticking away we were happy to see the game out without taking any unnecessary risks.

Oscar, whose influence grew throughout the second half, should have put the game to bed six minutes from time when he raced on to a Benayoun pass only to be denied by the leg of Federici.

With three minutes remaining, however, the hosts set up a tense finish when they pulled a goal back.

Akpan supplied the pass, and unsurprisingly it was Le Fondre - who had scored both goals in their win against Newcastle - who evaded Ivanovic and fired past Turnbull.

It was a goal that gave the home supporters hope, but the Blues went straight up the other end and almost wrapped the points up, as Federici pulled off a marvellous save to thwart Ramires.

Two minutes into added time, however, McDermott's side pulled off a remarkable comeback. As a hopeful ball was punted into the Chelsea box, we failed to clear our lines, and when it fell to Le Fondre, he calmly volleyed past Turnbull into the roof of the net.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole; Ramires, Lampard (c); Oscar, Mata (Benayoun 76), Bertrand; Torres (Ba 90+2).
Unused substitutes: Hilario, Ferreira, Terry, Ake, Marin.
Scorers Mata 45+1, Lampard 65
Booked Ramires 39, Azpilicueta 90+5

Reading (4-1-4-1): Federici; Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte; Leigertwood; Kebe, Karacan (Akpan 76), Guthrie (McCleary 58), McAnuff (c) (Le Fondre 66); Pogrebnyak.
Unused substitutes: Taylor, Shorey, Morrison, Robson-Kanu.
Scorers Le Fondre 87, 90+4
Booked McAnuff 28

Referee Mark Halsey
Crowd 24,097

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