Chelsea travel to The Madejski Stadium on Thursday to take on an ever improving Reading side as they look to get over the disappointment of their defeat in the Capital One Cup at the hands of Swansea City and gather some momentum in the Premier League after winning the London derby against Arsenal last weekend. Chelsea were completely outplayed in the second half of their match against Arsenal but such was their performance against The Gunners in the first half that they deserved to win the match despite not doing absolutely anything in the second 45 minutes.
Juan Mata was the star of the show for the West London side on the snowy winter evening at Stamford Bridge and with the match against Reading set to take place in slightly better conditions, Rafa Benitez and his side are expected to sweep aside the side that is fighting to save relegation and are currently lying at 18th in the table with just 19 points to their name from 23 outings. Reading are an extremely dangerous outfit their own home as they have demonstrated in their matches against Manchester United and Arsenal earlier in the season and although they had lost both the matches, they managed to score three and five goals respectively in the matches and with Chelsea’s backline suffering a blow after David Luiz was ruled out, they will have gaps to exploit in the Chelsea defense that has been misfiring for quite some time.
But one thing that will have Benitez more worried is the misfiring Fernando Torres and even his intervention couldn’t get the Spanish international striker back to his best and this has already raised the inevitable question as to whether the Spaniard is finished in top level football. But Benitez still kept faith in him against Arsenal and with Reading not known for their defensive strength, might employ him again against them as he seeks to build up his confidence slowly and steadily.
With Demba Ba waiting on the bench to come on and produce the goods when required, the Spanish manager has a decent replacement if not better and in Juan Mata and Oscar has a midfield pairing that could be the envy of any team in the world. As Chelsea awaits the verdict from FA over Eden Hazard, he is set to miss out on the match and Marko Marin might be given a game.