The Blues' pre-season preparations continued with a high-scoring game in Berkshire and a second win in a row.
Ross Barkley, who scored a good goal in open play against Barcelona in midweek, certainly has his shooting boots with him this pre-season. His equaliser today to make it 1-1 from a free-kick was a fantastic strike. That came midway through the first half against Championship-side Reading who are just a week away from the start of their league campaign and had gone into an early lead.However Chelsea who begin our Premier League fixtures a fortnight from now, were in the lead by half-time when Kenedy scored from distance to follow up Barkley's goal. At the start of the second half only one of the 22 players had not been substituted during the break and although it did not take long for Reading to make the score 2-2, a more fluid Chelsea than we saw in the first half scored twice in the matter of minutes – both goals from the boot of Mason Mount (pictured top) shortly after David Luiz had struck the woodwork with a fine attempt of his own.
Mount’s first goal showed good presence of mind and accurate finishing. The second came from a mistake by the home team and an assist from Michy Batshuayi.More goals from Lampard’s men looked likely but Reading kept the game alive when they netted their third goal with 20 minutes left to play, and showed there is still some pre-season work to do for our players who have two more fixtures to play before facing Manchester United.We were, however, able to hold on to our lead and continued to look sharper in attack than previously in our warm-up encounters.
For today’s game on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Berkshire, the first match in England under the management of Lampard, there was a start for many of the players who had begun on the bench for the previous match, the win over Barcelona in Japan, although Andreas Christensen and Christian Pulisic started both games.For most of the 2000 Chelsea fans present at the Madejski today, this was the first chance to greet their returning hero who is now Chelsea manager although they had to wait a little longer than expected to do so. Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes due to congestion outside the stadium and the length of queues to collect tickets.
Those in attendance then had to wait another 10 minutes after kick-off for the first effort at goal which came from Reading, a header by their captain Liam Moore which went very close to opening the scoring as he met a free-kick delivered from out wide.Three minutes later the Royals did take the lead, from the boot of Josh Barrett who was able to lift the ball left-footed over Willy Caballero after his initial right-footed shot had been blocked by his marker.Chelsea sought a quick response when Pulisic was able to attack the defence for the first time which led to Alonso forcing the first corner. From the other flank Zappacosta set up Bakayoko for a shot but the Frenchman lifted it well over.Midway through the first half, Chelsea did hit the back the net and we did so in style. Olivier Giroud had been fouled in a central position while holding the ball up and although Alonso also stood over the free-kick it was Barkley who struck it as sweetly as he could have wished, giving Joao Virginia in the Reading goal little chance as it curled over the wall and flew just inside the post.
The home side could have restored their lead soon after had Danny Loader kept his shot down, but Chelsea passed up an even better chance to make it 2-1 when, after Alonso had been fouled, Barkley this time sent a free-kick over towards the far post. Giroud had escaped the marking but uncharacteristically, his header missed.Before half-time, a thunderous strike by Kenedy was deflected wide of the Reading goal, a warning for the Royals of what was soon to follow. The Brazilian again tried his luck from a central position, this time from 30 yards out, and as the ball dipped, Virginia got a weak hand to it but to the dismay of the home fans, failed to keep it out. Chelsea took a 2-1 lead into the dressing room at half-time.
There were plenty of changes to both sides for the second 45 minutes with Lampard switching all his outfield players and Reading making 11 substitutions.Caballero, today’s captain, saved from Michael Olise early in the second half but almost immediately Reading were level when another of their subs, Mark Morrison, was able to side-foot in a far-post corner.On 54 minutes, Chelsea went within a whisker of taking the lead again when David Luiz picked up a blocked corner and on the swivel and from outside the area, sent a shot crashing against the crossbar.Three minutes later and to greater success, it was Mount who latched onto the chance to nick the ball on the edge of the area when an Abraham cross was intercepted, and from closer in than David Luiz, he kept his firm shot down to make it 3-2 to the Blues.
If that goal showed opportunism and good finishing, Mount’s second and Chelsea’s fourth was a gift. In attempting to pass out from the back, former Chelsea scholar Sam Walker who was now in the Reading goal sent the ball 10 yards to the feet of Michy Batshuayi. The Belgian gave his young team-mate Mount a simple tap-in.Both sides went close to scoring again before, having just come on, young Chelsea goalie Jamie Cumming made a good save. He was beaten however with 20 minutes to go when Sam Baldock finished off a sharp move.Tammy Abraham almost found a way past Walker with an overhead kick and Mateo Kovacic and Pedro had good attempts at goal before the end but 4-3 to the Londoners was how it ended.Next up, a visit to Salzburg on Wednesday.
Chelsea first-half team (4-2-3-1): Caballero (c) Zappacosta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Kenedy, Barkley, Pulisic, Giroud.Chelsea second-half team (4-4-2): Caballero (c) (Cumming 63), Azpilicueta, Zouma, David Luiz, Emerson; Pedro, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount; Abraham, Batshuayi.Unused sub Kepa.
Scorers Barkley 22, Kenedy 42, Mount 57, 60
Reading first half (4-2-3-1): Virginia; Yiadom, Moore (c), McIntyre, Blackett (Richards 31), Swift, Rinomhota; Loader, Barrow, Barrett; Meite.Reading second half Walker, Howe (Watson 70) Richards, Miazga, Morrison, Adam, Holsgrove, Olise, East, Novakovich, Baldock.
Scorers Barrett 13, Morrison 49, Baldock 71.
Crowd 19,463Referee T Robinson