Match Analysis: Chelsea 4-2 Reading

Chelsea players
© PA Photos
Sports Mole offers analysis on Chelsea's 4-2 win over Reading at Stamford Bridge, which saw the Blues move to the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea came from behind to beat Reading 4-2 at Stamford Bridge tonight and open up an early three-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Goals from Frank Lampard, Gary Cahill, Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic cancelled out a quickfire first-half double from the Royals as Roberto Di Matteo's side made it two wins from two.

Pavel Pogrebnyak's first Reading goal and Danny Guthrie's strike had given the Blues a real scare, while the visitors will point to a costly mistake from the officials as a deciding factor in their defeat.

Here, Sports Mole offers some analysis on the match.

Match stats:

Chelsea:

Shots: 23
On target: 11
Possession: 53%
Corners: 1
Fouls: 11

Reading:

Shots: 7
On target: 5
Possession: 47%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 14

Was the result fair?

The statistics would suggest it definitely was, but I'm not so sure it was as clear cut as they make out. Overall I'd say Chelsea probably deserved the three points due to the greater attacking threat they possessed throughout. The end result was probably fair, but I'm not convinced that the scoreline or the way it came about necessarily was. A two-goal winning margin flatters the European champions a little, while things could have been very different if the assistant referee had not incorrectly ruled Fernando Torres's goal to be onside.

Chelsea's performance

Good in parts, sloppy in others. Very positive in the early stages and proved an attacking threat through Juan Mata and Eden Hazard. The same pair also inspired the second-half Chelsea comeback. However, the Blues' performance will be marred by individual errors from Gary Cahill and Petr Cech, who were each at fault for Reading's two goals. With the attacking talents at their disposal, Chelsea may prove title contenders if they are able to tighten up at the back.

Reading's performance

Impressive. Many sides, newly-promoted or not, would have struggled to come from a goal down at Stamford Bridge, but Reading showed great character to do so, and then maintain their lead for nearly half an hour. Gareth McLeary and Jobi McAnuff were a real threat in the wide areas, while Pavel Pogrebnyak opened up his Royals account and worked very hard in his lone forward role. Slightly open in defence, but there were plenty of positives to take. They gave Chelsea a real scare tonight.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Eden Hazard was the outstanding player on the pitch. He was impressive in Chelsea's opener against Wigan and again tonight on his home debut. Everything he does, he does at real pace and that instantly scares defenders, who are petrified of going near him. That's because when they do, he usually entices a challenge, either skipping past them or drawing a foul. What makes him so dangerous is that he does all his good work in the right areas, in and around the box. Created two of Chelsea's goals - brilliant start to his Premier League career.

Biggest gaffe

Petr Cech doesn't tend to make many errors, but tonight he spilled what should have been a simple gather from Guthrie's free kick straight into the net behind him. Opposite number Adam Federici made a mistake of his own at the other end, but Cech's was probably more likely to appear on a blooper DVD.

Referee's performance

Lee Mason himself had a pretty quiet game, but his assistant made a very questionable call when he adjudged Fernando Torres to be onside for Chelsea's third goal. It was a key moment in the game, and replays suggested he got it wrong.

What next?

Chelsea:

Their toughest test of the season so far in the shape of Newcastle United, who finished above them in the Premier League last season. The Blues have collected maximum points from their opening two games, however, and will head into the game with confidence.

Reading:

A trip to Sunderland in search of their first win back in the top flight. The Royals have been dealt a tough start to the season, but if Brian McDermott's side continue to play like they did tonight, they will soon pick up Premier League wins.

Roberto Di Matteo
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