MX23RW : Monday, August 19 23:28:12| >> :600:1600325:1600325:
Jul 28, 2019 at 3.15pm UK at ​Madejski Stadium
Reading
3-4
Chelsea
Barrett (13'), Morrison (50'), Baldock (71')
FT(HT: 1-2)
Barkley (22'), Kenedy (42'), Mount (57', 60')

Preview: Reading vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews the pre-season friendly between Reading and Chelsea at the Madejski Stadium, including team news and predicted lineups.

Chelsea's pre-season campaign continues with a trip to Championship side Reading on Sunday afternoon.

The Blues have won half of their four friendlies to date and have three more games to go before their Premier League opener on August 11.


Reading

Reading manager Jose Gomes pictured on May 5, 2019© Reuters

Reading are at a more advanced stage in their summer programme, with their league campaign beginning in a week's time with a home match against Sheffield Wednesday.

After a mixed set of results from their trip to Spain, the Royals returned to the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday and earned a 4-2 victory over Peterborough United.

Tyler Blackett and Modou Barrow put Reading two goals ahead, only for League One side Peterborough to battle back and make it 2-2.

The Royals added a couple more goals to their tally through John Swift and Josh Barrett, however, to pick up a morale-boosting victory.

Boss Jose Gomes used the match as a chance to experiment with his squad somewhat and he now has one final game to settle on a preferred XI ahead of the visit of Sheffield Wednesday next week.

Gomes has a tough task on his hand this coming campaign, though, as Reading have battled relegation in back-to-back campaigns and have not managed to strengthen their squad during the close season.

Despite being among the favourites to drop out of the second tier this season, though, the Berkshire outfit still have some quality in their ranks and will be aiming to pull of an upset to round off their pre-season campaign.

Recent form in pre-season: LDWLLW


Chelsea

Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring for Chelsea on July 23, 2019© Reuters

After suffering a surprise 1-0 loss to Kawasaki Frontale in the opening game of their Asian tour, Chelsea responded in style with a 2-1 victory against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley were both on target as the Blues opened up a two-goal lead, which Ivan Rakitic halved the deficit with his fine late strike.

New signing Christian Pulisic impressed for Chelsea on his first start and Abraham also staked a claim for a starting spot up top with his goal, but it was young midfielder Mason Mount who came in for particular praise after the match.

However, it has since been confirmed that key defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante has suffered a setback on his return from a knee injury and is now a major doubt for the start of the new season.

Kante's absence opens up a gap in central midfield and Frank Lampard has three more matches, spread over six days, to find the right formula.

After taking on Reading on Sunday, Chelsea meet Red Bull Salzburg in Austria and Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany, before kicking off their Premier League campaign with a tough test against Manchester United on August 11.

Never has there been a better chance for the younger players in Chelsea's ranks to hold down a spot in the first team. With time running out to impress, Sunday's trip to Berkshire will give Abraham, Mount & Co. another chance to show what they are all about.

Recent form in pre-season: DWLW


Team News

Ross Barkley celebrates scoring for Chelsea on July 23, 2019© Reuters

Chelsea returned from the Far East on Wednesday and have been given a couple of days' rest to recover in time for Sunday's friendly.

Kante is recovering from a knee injury and Matt Miazga has left the club to rejoin opponents Reading on loan, but Lampard otherwise has a full group to choose from.

Lampard still has to decide on his preferred centre-back partnership, so Kurt Zouma may come in for this match, while further up the field Olivier Giroud is expected to start.

As for Reading, new signings Charlie Adam and Michael Morrison played in a behind-closed-doors friendly in the week and may be part of the senior squad this weekend.

Gomes used a midfield diamond with two strikers against Peterborough, which may remain the case against Chelsea.

Miazga did not play a part against Peterborough but is in contention to feature against his parent club, while Danny Loader and Jordan Obita may also be brought into the squad.

Reading possible starting lineup:
Virginia; Yiadom, Moore, McIntyre, Blackett; Rinomhota, Swift, Barrett, Olise; Barrow, Meite

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Zouma, Emerson; Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Mount, Pulisic; Giroud


Head To Head

Chelsea have not faced Reading in a competitive fixture since 2013 when playing out a 2-2 draw in the Premier League.

The Blues are unbeaten in eight matches against the Royals since a 3-1 EFL Cup loss in September 1987.

Overall, Reading have won three of their 20 competitive games against this weekend's opponents since their first encounter in 1921.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Reading 1-2 Chelsea

Chelsea are back on British soil following their trek to Asia and they are steadily building momentum ahead of the new campaign. Reading are weaker opposition than Barcelona, of course, but the Royals are into the latter stages of their pre-season programme and should give the Blues a good test.


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Who will win Sunday's pre-season friendly between Reading and Chelsea?

Reading
Draw
Chelsea
Reading
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Chelsea
0.0%
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