Joao Virginia: 6
Couldn’t do anything about the first - a terrific free-kick from Ross Barkley - but should have done better with the second, when he needed to get a stronger hand to Kenedy’s long-range shot (even if it was deflected).
Some very nervy moments in his short distribution, but on the whole he kept his head well. His ability to knock the ball around under pressure - as if he were an outfielder - is really encouraging. He looks like exactly the right kind of goalkeeper we needed this summer, but it’s now up to him to get used to the rigours of regular Championship football.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Although he gets a lot of credit for his energy, bursting up and down the right flank, his technical ability impressed me today. Yiadom passes calmly and anticipates the return ball well, as shown in the build-up to Reading’s opener. Also did well defensively and cleared his lines despite Chelsea pressure, bar giving the ball away in his box once - although it came to nothing.
Liam Moore: 7
A typically committed, strong performance from the captain who hit the woodwork with a set-piece header. Generally a case of keeping the defence organised and mopping up when Chelsea got through, which wasn’t too often.
Tom McIntyre: 7
Based on this performance, I’m loathe to say that Miazga should just walk back into the first team. McIntyre’s composure and maturity is eye-catching, especially as he was going up against a top striker in Olivier Giroud. My highlight of his was when he intercepted a pass into the Chelsea frontline, brought the ball out himself and started a counter-attack. It’s just that kind of proactivity that Jose Gomes needs in his defenders.
Tyler Blackett: 6
Had a tough game down the right, but stayed cool nonetheless. Taken off for Omar Richards during the first half due to injury. Set up Loader with a powerful deep cross that eluded everyone else in the box.
Danny Loader: 6
An excellent assist for Barrett to open the scoring, and went close to a goal of his own from Blackett’s deep cross. Deployed on the right wing in a 4-4-2, Loader had to do much more defensive work than he’s used to - that won’t be his usual position of course, and he did seem to get more frustrated as the half went on, giving away a silly foul that would lead to Giroud heading wide.
John Swift: 8
We saw a different version of Swift, with the former Chelsea player deployed in a two-man midfield alongside Rino. He adapted to that well, and was involved in various good moves in the first half. His set-pieces were accurate and dangerous, although on the other hand he gave the ball away once in a dangerous position once, showing that he needs to keep his concentration if he’s to be deployed so deep.
Andy Rinomhota: 7
The energetic man in the middle, protecting the back four and helping out his midfield partner, Rino had to curb his own attacking instincts but did well defensively. Composed and strong as ever. Not daunted by the quality of the opposition.
Josh Barrett: 8
An excellent goal to put Reading 1-0 up, and effective throughout the half. Going forwards, he doesn’t have the same pace of Barrow or Meite, but he makes up for that with a sharpness and awareness to bring others into play. We’d probably get the most out of that with a Yiadom-esque pacey left back overlapping him. Defensively he was mature, working hard to protect Blackett well and clear his lines.
Yakou Meite: 5
A frustrating afternoon for Meite who worked hard as he always does in open play, but not much happened for him in the final third. Put a header wide from a Swift delivery.
Modou Barrow: 5
Although on paper he was probably supporting Yakou Meite in a strike partnership, Barrow often drifted out to the left to find space and then try to attack Chelsea down that side. However, he typically didn’t manage to beat his man, which was frustrating given the space available in behind.
Sam Walker: 4
Oh dear, Sam Walker. A horrendous error for Chelsea’s third goal, when he passed straight to a Blues player before the ball was tapped home. It will naturally have dented his confidence, and shown Jose Gomes that Walker isn’t up to playing from the back - ironically coming on a day that the goalie was given Reading’s number one jersey.
Teddy Howe: 6
Only got 24 minutes on the pitch before being replaced by Watson. Didn’t have much of an impact besides hitting the bar with an over-hit cross. Certainly wants to bomb forward and create down that side though - in a way that’s reminiscent of Yiadom.
Michael Morrison: 6
Looked pretty composed at the back in his first Mad Stad outing, and even opened his account with a decisive short-range finish from Charlie Adam’s corner at the start of the second half.
Matt Miazga: 6
Looked less assured on the left side of the defence, having played on the right last season, but put in some good blocks to remind us of how dominant he can be at the back.
Omar Richards: 5
Actually played most of the game, having replaced Blackett in the first half, but didn’t have much of an impact down the left.
Michael Olise: 8
It’s easy to forget that he’s still only 17 years old. Olise showed a level of maturity and confidence beyond his years against Chelsea, regularly taking players on or showing clever footwork to keep possession. He registered an assist via Sam Baldock, and came close to a goal of his own after dancing through the Chelsea defence but shooting straight at the ‘keeper. A sure starter for me.
Ryan East: 5
I barely noticed him - not enough impact in the middle. At a time when there’s an opening in the middle of the park, East needs to be more dominant if he’s to stake a claim for a starting position.
Charlie Adam: 7
Added the experience and presence deep in midfield that we were hoping for. Much of Adam’s game consisted of him receiving the ball, immediately looking up and spraying out a pass, but it’s a trait that suits us well. He may not be particularly mobile, but his vision, reading of the game and distribution will certainly come in handy.
Jordan Holsgrove: 6
Looked pretty bright on the left wing but, besides a well-saved effort that was hit at the near post, he didn’t contribute enough in front of goal.
Sam Baldock: 7
Tidy finish for his goal, slamming home decisively after being played in by Olise. Generally not too involved, often running the channels in search of longs balls from Charlie Adam.
Andrija Novakovich: 6
Worked hard as a more conventional target man up top, showing some nice touches here and there to show his ability in that role. A clever bit of footwork just before the Morrison goal also demonstrated his agility. He blasted a good chance wide of the post from an Olise delivery.
Also, Tennai Watson: 5
Brought on for Howe on 69 minutes. He seems to now be third-choice right-back in the squad, with Yiadom and Howe the top two picks, but I didn’t see enough to suggest he could displace either of those. Perhaps another loan move beckons.