The visit of Reading to Stamford Bridge should prove quite an occasion for Blues’ fans. It will serve as a homecoming, being the first time Roberto Di Matteo and his players have appeared at the Bridge since a certain Munich night in May. The feel good factor is further enhanced by the solid start to the season made at Wigan on Sunday, and Eden Hazard’s tantilising taste of what’s to come from him this season. The £32m Belgian will make his home debut, and Roberto Di Matteo has also confirmed that Ramires is available to feature having recovered from the illness that prevented him traveling to the DW Stadium at the weekend. Marko Marin remains unavailable to make his debut thanks to a thigh strain, but the other big new-boy Oscar could once again feature for his home debut.
Our visitors have some injury issues of their own, with midfielder Jem Karacan set to miss the game after failing to recover from a leg injury. Manager Brian McDermott will also be unable to call on the Premier League experience of journeyman striker Jason Roberts, and one of last season’s most impressive Royals Jimmy Kebe also misses out through injury, a hamstring issue on this occasion.
The meeting will be the third time the two club’s have clashed in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge, the Blues coming out on top 1-0 the last time the two sides met, back in 2008. It was the reverse fixture in 2006 when Petr Cech suffered the fractured skull that now requires him to wear his famous headgear. Roberto Di Matteo’s side come into the match of the back of that already mentioned 2-0 win over Wigan, and will be looking to build on a bright start that petered out somewhat.
Reading meanwhile had to rely on a stoppage time penalty to rescue a point on the opening day at home to Stoke, but will find it tough going to match that result at the home of the European Champions.
History is not with the Berkshire side, who have never won at Stamford Bridge, and their last win of any description was back in March 1930. The Blues are unbeaten in their last 33 home matches against newly promoted clubs, last slipping up in a 1-0 defeat to Charlton in 2001. When it comes to strong starts Chelsea also have form, having won their first home league game in each of the previous nine seasons, last failing to win when Manchester United held them to a 2-2 draw back in 2002.
In terms of milestones this Wednesday night, Fernando Torres is poised to make his 150th Premier League appearance, and will be looking to add to the 72 goals he already has in the top flight. In terms of milestones already achieved, with his penalty on Sunday, Frank Lampard has now scored in 16 different Premier League seasons, only Paul Scholes (18) and Ryan Giggs (20) can better that record.