The Blues return back to England for the fifth game of seven of their pre-season campaign
After a short break recovering from the ‘Far East’ tour of Japan, Chelsea return to England and make a short trip across the country to continue their pre-season preparations today against Reading.
WHO ARE READING?
Reading – nicknamed The Royals – was founded back in 1871, making the club one of the oldest in football history.
Reading ply their trade in the second tier of English football – the EFL Championship, which they won most recently and for a second time back in 2012.
Their Madejski Stadium was opened in 1998, with the stadium costing £50m to construct and having a capacity of 24,161.
For Reading, this will be their final pre-season match with the Championship beginning next week with the Royals hosting Sheffield Wednesday on the opening weekend.
The main threat from Reading is in-fact a former member of the Chelsea academy, John Swift. Since leaving the Blues in 2016, Swift has become a first-team regular for the Royals, with the talented midfielder becoming a very influential member of the squad.
The current manager of Reading is José Manuel Gomes, having been at the club since December 2018 after taking over from caretaker manager Scott Marshall.
A potential familiar face in Reading’s side today will be Matt Miazga, who only just recently re-joined the side on loan from Chelsea earlier this month.
Today’s game could prove to be a good test for the American International centre-back to his parent club as he hopes to show that they don’t forget about him having a potential future at SW6.
Chelsea has faced Reading before on twenty occasions, with the London side having the upper hand over the Berkshire side with ten victories. Chelsea’s last win over Reading came in 2012, with goals from Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanović coming in a 4-2 victory at Stamford Bridge.
After the impressive 2-1 victory over Barcelona in Japan earlier this week, expect Chelsea to field a similar-strength team as they get closer to their opening game of the season against Manchester United. So don’t expect too many changes as Frank Lampard will be looking to be build a team for his preferred 4-2-3-1 system.
The Blues remain without the injured quintet of Antonio Rüdiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian and Reece James, though it is expected that N’Golo Kante will finally get some pre-season action under his belt as he continues his recovery from the knee injury he suffered from the UEFA Europa League Final last season.
Expect the likes of Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud to start and get the majority of minutes as they are expected to be starting at Old Trafford in two weeks. Don’t be surprised with a start of Andreas Christensen too as he looks to continue his battle with Kurt Zouma to be David Luiz’s centre-back for the opening weekend of the season.
HOW TO WATCH
You can watch today’s game via two options – on the official website (£10.99 for the entire preseason on the website) or on ‘The 5th Stand’ app (Back to £1.99 per game and not the £3.99 nonsense for the Barcelona game).
Let’s hope for a win, a good performance and no injuries from today’s game as we get closer to Man Utd on the opening weekend of the season.