Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of the pre-season clash between Reading
from the Madejski Stadium. Chelsea are building towards the start of their Premier League opener away to Manchester United on August 11, but Reading's Championship campaign starts next weekend against Sheffield Wednesday. Stay tuned!
READING: Virginia; Yiadom, Moore, Mcintyre, Blackett; Swift, Rinomhota; Barrow, Barrett, Meite; Loader
CHELSEA: Caballero; Zappacosta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Drinkwater, Bakayoko; Pulisic, Barkley, Kenedy; Giroud
Looks to be a 4-2-3-1 formation for Reading this afternoon, with Danny Loader starting at the tip of the attack while Yakou Meite, Josh Barrett and Mo Barrow operate just behind. Matt Miazga, who is on loan from Chelsea, starts on the bench this afternoon, while fellow new arrival Charlie Adam is also among the substitutes for the Royals.
As for Chelsea, Olivier Giroud has been chosen at the tip of the attack, with Kenedy and Christian Pulisic in the wide positions. Danny Drinkwater gets the nod alongside Tiemoue Bakayoko in the middle of the park, while there is a chance for Fikayo Tomori – on loan with Lampard at Derby last season – to impress at the heart of the defence.
There have been a lot of delayed kickoffs in pre-season for one reason or another. Still around 10 minutes until this one gets underway at the Madejski Stadium.
Frank Lampard's side recorded a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in their last pre-season game on Tuesday, while Reading were 4-2 winners over Peterborough United on Wednesday. Just a reminder that Reading start their new Championship campaign next weekend.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are building towards the start of their Premier League opener away to Manchester United on August 11. The new season really is just around the corner.
It will be very interesting to see how Kenedy and Pulisic perform in support of Giroud this afternoon. Barkley will seemingly play in the number 10 position, with Drinkwater given a chance further back. Abraham and Batshuayi are both on the bench for the Blues here.
Both sets of players have joined us on the field ahead of kickoff, which was delayed for 15 minutes due to congestion on the roads. This is Reading's last friendly before the new season begins next weekend - let's hope for an entertaining game of football here.
KICKOFF: Chelsea kick things off against their Championship opponents...
... it must be said that there is a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium - the fans have turned out in their numbers. The first real attack of the match comes down the right for Reading, and Meite's dangerous low cross is cleared by the waiting Tomori.
It will be interesting to see how Giroud performs at the tip of the Chelsea attack - it is between the Frenchman, Tammy Abraham and Batshuayi for the starting role at Old Trafford on August 11. A strong Giroud performance here would send out a message.
Not an awful lot to report in terms of attacking football in the early stages. Chelsea have just started to gain control of the possession, but Reading are set up in a good shape.
Pulisic is actually operating off the left for Chelsea while Kenedy is playing down the right. Giroud is doing his best to get involved when the ball is popped into him, but there has not really been a serious attack of note for the Blues in the first eight minutes.
Barrow's pace threatens to cause Christiensen a problem, but the offside flag is raised. Barrow and Meite certainly have the pace to cause Chelsea problems this afternoon.
Meite does well to hold off Christensen before looking to feed Loader, but the pass is just on the soft side. It is the Chelsea fans making most of the noise inside the ground.
OFF THE POST! Reading come close to taking the lead as Swift finds the head of Moore from a set piece, but his effort just clips off the outside of the post - so close!
Reading's threat is clear to see with Meite and Barrow causing all sorts of problems on the break while Swift picks out balls from the middle of the park. Good from the hosts.
GOAL! READING 1-0 CHELSEA (BARRETT)
GOAL! What a goal! Reading take the lead in the 13th minute of this match as Barrett lifts the ball over Caballero into the back of the net after seeing his initial effort blocked by Zappacosta. Barrett had options, but decided to have a go, which certainly paid off!
Smart defending from Moore to clear a low cross from Giroud, who had been looking to pick out Pulisic inside the box. Better tempo from Chelsea since the opening goal here.
CHANCE! Big chance for Chelsea to level as Zappacosta finds Bakayoko inside the Reading box, but the midfielder lifts his effort over the crossbar. Really should have scored there.
CLOSE! Chelsea are having plenty of the ball as they continue to pass and probe, but Reading have looked the more dangerous team, especially on the counter-attack. The Royals have just threatened with a couple of corners in quick succession - the second of which Meite headed over.
Pass, pass, pass from Chelsea as they look to create some space. Reading are not allowing the Premier League side room in the final third, though. Still 1-0 with 21 minutes played.
Chelsea have a free kick in a dangerous area as Moore brings Giroud down...
GOAL! READING 1-1 CHELSEA (BARKLEY)
GOAL! Stunning from Barkley as the midfielder picks out the top corner with a super free kick. No chance for the goalkeeper as the ball bent away from his reach at the final moment.
Sometimes pre-season games can be quite hard work, but this has been a brilliant match thus far. Indeed, both teams have contributed to an open and entertaining clash.
Chelsea are having a lot of the ball at the moment with Reading just struggling to get out of their own half. However, the Championship side have already shown how dangerous they can be on the counter-attack. The opening 26 minutes of this match has flown past.
CLOSE! Loader finds space at the far post and decides to strike towards goal, but the attacker's effort is just high of Caballero's crossbar. Reading threaten on the break again.
Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining and Reading just have a concern over Blackett with the defender hitting the ground - it does not look terrific for him.
READING SUB! Reading indeed make the change as Richards replaces Blackett, who must now be a doubt for the start of the Championship season next weekend.
Little over 10 minutes of the first half remaining and it has absolutely flown past. It has been an even game for long spells with Reading more than proving themselves.
It will be interesting to see what both managers have in mind when it comes to the second period - will Lampard make wholesale changes at the interval? It seems likely that Reading's subs will trickle onto the pitch rather than all come at once.
Chelsea have another free kick in a dangerous position here...
CHANCE! ... huge chance for Giroud to send Chelsea ahead as Barkley picks out the striker from a brilliant free kick, but the Frenchman somehow heads wide of the post!
Good pressure from Chelsea at the moment as Reading struggle to get out of their own half. Will Abraham be introduced for the Blues in the second period? It is going to be fascinating to see which striker starts against Manchester United in their Premier League opener.
Pulisic has shown bits and pieces for Chelsea in this first period, but the American is not Eden Hazard. Little under five minutes of the first half remaining and we are level at 1-1.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Chelsea as Barkley finds Kenedy inside the Reading box, but the Brazilian's effort is deflected just wide of the post. Should have been 2-1 there.
GOAL! READING 1-2 CHELSEA (KENEDY)
GOAL! Kenedy makes no mistake this time as the attacker finds the back of the net with a strike from distance, but it has to go down as a goalkeeping mistake. Had to save it!
Kenedy's strike took a slight - and I mean very slight - deflection en route to goal, but the Reading goalkeeper still should have saved it. Not long until the half-time break here.
HALF TIME: READING 1-2 CHELSEA
So there we have it - the referee brings the first period to a close with Chelsea leading 2-1. Reading made the breakthrough in the 13th minute courtesy of a fine Barrett goal.
Barkley levelled the scores with a brilliant free kick in the 23rd minute, however, before Kenedy sent the Blues ahead just before the break. Entertaining opening half of action.
Chelsea have the likes of Abraham, Kepa, Batshuayi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Luiz and Pedro on their bench this afternoon and it will be very interesting to see how Lampard uses his bench in the second 45 minutes. Will there be wholesale changes at the break?
Reading, meanwhile, have already been forced into a change with Richards replacing the injured Blackett. Charlie Adam will be hoping to make his debut for the Royals, while the likes of Baldock, Howe, Miazga and Olise could see some minutes in the second period.
Next up for Chelsea is a friendly against Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday night, while Reading will begin their 2019-20 Championship campaign at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. The new season is now just around the corner. How exciting!
KICKOFF: Reading resume the action here...
... Chelsea have made wholesale changes at the break. It looks like Caballero is only player staying on the field from the first period - I will confirm as soon as possible.
CHELSEA SECOND-HALF XI: Caballero; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Zouma, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic; Mount, Batshuayi, Pedro; Abraham
Reading have also made wholesale changes for the second period. Once again, I will attempt to confirm their side as soon as possible as it is not an easy task!
READING SECOND-HALF XI: Walker; Howe, Richards, Miazga, Morrison; Adam, Holsgrove, Olise, East; Novakovich, Baldock
SAVE! Big chance for Reading to score a second as Olise breaks into the Chelsea box before looking to find the back of the net, but Caballero makes a smart save.
GOAL! READING 2-2 CHELSEA (MORRISON)
GOAL! Reading level the scores as Morrison finds space at the far post from a corner and has the simple task of finding the back of the net! Not sure about the defending there!
OFF THE BAR! Caballero watches a deep cross from Adam drop onto his own crossbar as Reading threaten once again. Plenty happening at the start of the second period.
OFF THE BAR! Luiz now hits the crossbar for Chelsea with a brilliant strike!
Not an awful lot from Abraham and Batshuayi in the final third of the field for Chelsea, with the game passing both of them by at the moment. Still 2-2 with 56 minutes played.
GOAL! READING 2-3 CHELSEA (MOUNT)
GOAL! Chelsea regain the lead in the 57th minute as Mount pounces on a loose ball just outside the Reading box before smashing home with a powerful strike!
Chelsea are very much on the front foot here as they chase a fourth.
GOAL! READING 2-4 CHELSEA (MOUNT)
GOAL! Horror moment for Reading goalkeeper Walker as he passes the ball straight to Batshuayi and it ends up with Mount, who has the simple task of converting into an empty net.
CHANCE! Big chance for Chelsea to score a fifth, but Luiz somehow heads wide from close range. Hardly time to take a breath at the moment as chances continue to arrive here.
CHELSEA SUB! Caballero is replaced by Cumming for the away side.
CLOSE! East fires over the crossbar from close range as Reading threaten to score a third. There could have been 10 goals in this game - it has been so incredibly open.
Little over 20 minutes of the second period remaining and it would not be a surprise to see a few more goals here with neither defence looking too secure to be honest.
SAVE! Decent attempt from Olise, but Cumming is on hand to make a decent save for Chelsea, who clear the corner before breaking down the other end through Pedro.
READING SUB! Watson replaces Howe for Reading.
GOAL! READING 3-4 CHELSEA (BALDOCK)
GOAL! Reading have their third as Baldock produces a brilliant finish after breaking into a dangerous position. Seven goals and there could well be a lot more here.
Little over 15 minutes of the second period remaining and it must be said that this has been a brilliant pre-season friendly. There has been hardly time to take a breath here.
There has not been a single yellow card in this game - to be honest, it has not been that type of contest despite being incredibly competitive. Still 4-3 to Lampard's side.
Baldock continues to cause Chelsea problems with his movement in the final third, while Abraham has been bright down the other end without really threatening to score.
SAVE! Walker has to tip an inventive effort from Abraham wide of the post.
Chelsea have been threatening in the last couple of minutes through two corners and a spell of pressure, but Reading manage to clear their lines to stay in the contest.
SHOT! Mount strikes wide from outside the box after finding a little bit of space. The attacker is on a second-half hat-trick and has sent out a strong message to Lampard with his performance.
Little over five minutes of the second half remaining and not too much is happening at the moment in terms of attacking football - can Reading force a leveller late on?
Quite a stop-start game at the moment with the referee having to intervene following a number of late challenges. Just about four minutes of normal time to play here.
SHOT! Kovacic sees a decent strike deflected wide of the post after working space in a dangerous position. The resulting corner comes towards Abraham, but Reading clear.
I should not imagine that there will be too much in the way of added time - the majority of the changes came at the break and the match has been drifting for some time here.
FULL TIME: READING 3-4 CHELSEA
So there we have it - the referee brings the second period to a close with Chelsea running out 4-3 winners over Reading. A very entertaining pre-season match! That is just about it from me here, but join us for Liverpool against Napoli! See you there!