Reading vs. Chelsea  2 - 2

Article

Premier League: Reading 2 Chelsea 2

30 January 2013 23:33

Reading staged a stunning comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday night.

Juan Mata grabbed the opener, driving home from close range after a superb through pass from Fernando Torres, before Frank Lampard belted a header into the top corner halfway through the second half.

Adam Le Fondre orchestrated the comeback, scoring twice from the bench as the Royals continue their fine unbeaten form.

The away side started to control the flow of the game after a turgid start, keeping possession for long periods, but were unable to make a quick impact on the Reading defence. However, Reading forced a couple of free kicks in dangerous areas when Pogrebnyak caused problems for the Chelsea defence, but the Royals were unable to create a decent chance.

Ashley Cole then blasted a long-range effort over the bar, before Torres was shut out by Adrian Mariappa and Adam Federici after a looping ball caused problems for the Reading defence.

Lampard had a shot blocked as Chelsea continued to press, but Torres was penalised later on for clipping Mariappa after the defender sliced a simple clearance.

Gary Cahill wasted a glorious opportunity from a Lampard free kick, failing to connect with the ball when he was unmarked. After the hosts cleared another set piece, Jimmy Kebe had a chance to break but was too slow to react as Ashley Cole came running in to intercept.

The Chelsea left-back blasted another speculative effort way off target after Torres had struck a shot out for a throw, and as the break approached Chelsea didn’t really look like breaking through the Reading back line.

With practically the last kick of the half, however, Chelsea took the lead. Torres collected the ball and scooped a delightful pass into the path of Mata, who fired the ball first time low past Federici.

Torres got in behind the defence early after the break but Reading managed to clear the striker’s cross, with three Chelsea players waiting in the box. Alex Pearce then brought down the Spain international 30 yards out, and Lampard’s belted free kick came straight back off the wall.

Oscar should have made it two when he sprung the offside trap to meet Lampard’s floated ball, but the Brazil international tried an acrobatic finish which flew wide, when he had plenty of time to take a touch in the box.

Oscar was involved again as he was set loose by Lampard, but the midfielder’s cross was cleared by the Reading defence. From the resulting corner, Lampard rose highest to meet Mata’s ball in and hammer a header into the top corner.

As the half went on Reading had opportunities from set pieces but failed to work Ross Turnbull. Substitute Adam Le Fondre saw a header fly high over the bar, before the striker curled another effort just over from 20 yards.

Oscar had a chance to make it three late on but was denied by Federici, and at the other end Le Fondre latched on to a through ball to get the hosts back in it with a low strike into the near post from the same position as Mata's in the first half.

Ramires then forced a fine stop from Federici 30 yards out, before Le Fondre was there to equalise with a volley deep into the area which flew past Turnbull to set the home crowd into raptures.

Article

Cech, Luiz to miss Reading clash

29 January 2013 17:33

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed Petr Cech and David Luiz will miss the clash against Reading on Wednesday.

Benitez also bemoaned the number of games his side have had to play over recent weeks and believes his squad lack strength in depth.

Their depth will be tested at Madejski Stadium, with Cech and Luiz both missing through injury.

Benitez told reporters: "We are playing more games than anyone. In some positions we have only two or three players, that's the reality.

"After the Africa Cup of Nations, and when we get Eden Hazard back, we'll be able to manage a bit better.

"I'm really focused on my job. We know we are training well and preparing properly, and that's my job."

Chelsea avoided an early exit from the FA Cup on Sunday after grabbing a late equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Brentford, with Fernando Torres ending an eight-game goal drought.

Benitez, whose side sit third in the English Premier League, was keen to take positives from that match.

"The positive is that we are still scoring goals and conceding less than in the past, but we still need to improve," he said.

"I was really pleased with John Terry against Brentford after not playing for such a long time.

"My focus is to improve the team and keep the players believing that we can win. I like managing top sides and this is one."

Chelsea travel to face an in-form Reading side on Wednesday as they look to remain in the Premier League title race, but Benitez is aware his side face a tricky test.

"Reading will be a tough game, we know they play with high intensity and we have to be ready," he said.

Article

Premier League preview: Reading v Chelsea

29 January 2013 06:51

Reading will look to climb out of the English Premier League relegation zone with a rare victory as they entertain Chelsea on Wednesday.

The Berkshire club, 18th on the table with just four wins this season, have not won a league game against the Blues in 83 years.

But Brian McDermott's side will head into the contest full of confidence having won their past four matches in all competitions.

Reading accounted for Crawley Town in the third round of the FA Cup before beating West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United in the league.

They then capped a stellar start to 2013 with a 4-0 FA Cup rout of Sheffield United to set up a fifth-round clash with Manchester United.

Reading midfielder Mikele Leigertwood, who scored the second goal against Sheffield United, was at a loss to explain his side's positive reversal in form.

"I don't know what the secret is," he said. "We're not in a great position still, but we have done well of late and given ourselves a good chance to do well.

"We want to win games and have to deal with the pressure. We are confident at the moment and we can't look too far ahead."

Reading have just two injury concerns, with goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) and forward Jason Roberts (hip) ruled out of the Chelsea clash.

Adam Federici will continue to deputise for McCarthy, while rested striker Pavel Pogrebnyak is expected to start up front.

John Terry started in Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Brentford in the FA Cup at the weekend but is likely to return to the bench.

David Luiz (ankle) remains in doubt for third-placed Chelsea, though Fernando Torres should keep his place up front after netting in a lacklustre display at Brentford.

"We came (to Brentford) and didn't create too much," Terry told the Chelsea website.

"Fair play to them, they played well but we need to liven up a bit and realise the importance to the fans and the club."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25