Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: 22nd August 2012
Kickoff: 12:15 AM IST
TV: ESPN or Star Sports ( check listings for confirmation)
Chelsea F.C. (4-2-3-1): Cech-Ivanovic, David Luiz, Terry, Cole-Lampard, Mikel, Oscar, Hazard, Mata-Torres.
Reading (4-4-2): Federici-Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte-McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff-Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre.
Referee: L Mason
Garath McCleary, who won the penalty against Stoke, could start. Jason Roberts will be unavailable as he serves suspension and manager McDermott has confirmed that Jimmy Kebe will miss the start of the season.
Ramires has been cleared and is available for the game. Marko Marin is still out with injury with Di Matteo saying that he will be back soon. Gary Cahill might start to strengthen up the shaky defense that was seen at Wigan whereas Mata might be rested as he continues his battle with fatigue.
Newly promoted teams are tricky opponents as was seen at the Etihad Stadium and Reading could feed on that confidence. Chelsea pulled the brakes after scoring 2 goals in 6 minutes against Wigan at the DW Stadium and they will have to make sure it does not happen again. Reading will have to stop the midfielders from pushing forward and have to keep an eye on Fernando who can be pretty deadly.
Stats of the match:
- Chelsea have won five and lost none of the last six meetings in all competitions against Reading.
- Reading have only won seven of 38 Premier League away games.
- There have been three red cards in the four Premier League games between Reading and Chelsea (two for Reading, one for Chelsea).
- Chelsea have won six and lost just one of their last nine Premier League home matches.
- Chelsea had just six shots in their opening game against Wigan on Sunday, their fewest in a Premier League game since September 2007 (four versus Man Utd).
- Eden Hazard registered the most assists (16) in Ligue 1 in 2011-12 and already has a goal assist to his name for the Blues.
- No player has won more penalty kicks in the top five European Leagues (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and England) since the start of last season than Eden Hazard (7).
- Reading were forced into more defensive clearances on the opening weekend than any other team in the Premier League (57).
- Chelsea have drawn 199 games in Premier League history.
- Only Alan Shearer (56) has scored more penalties in the Premier League than Frank Lampard (38).
Prediction: 4-1 or 3-0 to Chelsea. Jose Mourinho built a fortress at Stamford Bridge and its not hard to figure out why. The loud fans have always made it hard for opposition players to concentrate and I just cannot see Reading picking out a win at the Bridge.