Reading’s final game of pre-season comes against (arguably) their toughest opposition thus far, in the form of Europa League winners Chelsea. This will be a good run out against a top-class Premier League side and will give the new signings a chance to make a good impression on Jose Gomes.
Although further new signings are yet to arrive at the Madejski Stadium (writing this on Wednesday night), the Royals could be looking for another centre midfielder to provide depth in the first team. It’s also likely that Reading will be aiming to sign a couple of attacking players before the closure of the summer transfer window.
Let’s see how the players get on this Sunday, with more new players expected to arrive in Berkshire before August 8.
Where? Madejski Stadium
When? Sunday 28th July 2019 (3pm KO)
League form record
The signing of Matt Miazga back on loan from Chelsea will have pleased Reading supporters, with the American centre back performing well in the second half of last season for the Royals. This signing was announced shortly before Peterborough United game, where the hosts came out 4-2 winners at the Madejski Stadium.
Goals from Tyler Blackett, Mo Barrow, John Swift and Josh Barrett secured victory, after Posh managed to pull the game back to 2-2 from a 2-0 deficit. Although the Berkshire side did concede a couple of goals against the League One outfit, supporters will be heartened by the fact that Michael Morrison and Matt Miazga are still to come in the Reading starting eleven.
After the appointment of Frank Lampard and the enforcement of a transfer embargo, the Blues have opted to utilise younger players a lot more at Chelsea. Players like Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham are likely to have a much bigger chance to make an impact on the first team this season at Stamford Bridge.
The only signings that Chelsea have been able to bring in this summer, as a result of their transfer ban, had already agreed a deal with the club before the summer. Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic are two of those who have arrived in London to play for Chelsea and could feature against Reading on Sunday.
The Last Meeting
Reading 2-2 Chelsea
Juan Mata and current Chelsea manager Frank Lampard (Frank Lampard’s Derby County Chelsea) put the Blues 2-0 up against Reading at the Madejski Stadium in January 2013 and looked to have taken all three points back to Stamford Bridge. This was until Adam Le Fondre made an impact from the bench once again.
A quick-fire brace on that cold January night gave the Royals genuine belief that they could stay up, despite their place in the relegation zone at the time. This joy was to be short-lived for the club, who finished 19th in the 2012/13 and were relegated back to the Championship as a result.
- After scoring just 49 goals in 46 league games last season, the Royals will need to score a lot more this season if they are to steer clear of the relegation zone.
- The two sides were separated by 37 league places in the football pyramid at the end of the 2018/19 season.
- Chelsea went unbeaten in their first 11 league matches of last season under former boss Maurizio Sarri. A quick start this campaign will be vital for Lampard.
- However, they didn’t threaten second position towards the end of that campaign, with eventual runners-up Liverpool finishing 25 points above them in the 2018/19 season.
Likely Reading lineup: Virginia, Blackett, Moore, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Barrett, Olise, Barrow, Meite
Joao Virginia is likely to start in goal again from the Royals after cementing his place as the first-choice goalkeeper. Matt Miazga could also feature against his parent club and another new signing, Michael Morrison, could come off the bench to form a back five against the Premier League side.
However, unless the club bring in some reinforcements before Sunday’s fixture, the attacking part of the side is likely to be similar to the Peterborough United game. This means the younger players will get another chance to prove themselves, Michael Olise and Josh Barrett especially.
Score Prediction: Reading 0-2 Chelsea
Friendly fixtures and results
Saturday 6th July: Southend United (2-0 W)
Wednesday 10th July: Gibraltar United (10-0 W)
Saturday 13th July: Sevilla (2-1 L)
Tuesday 16th July: Malaga B (0-0 D)
Tuesday 16th July: Extremedura UD (1-0 W)
Saturday 20th July: Lincoln City (1-0 L)
Saturday 20th July: Granada CF (1-0 L)
Wednesday 24th July: Peterborough United (4-2 W)
Saturday 27th July: Chelsea (H)