BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
Venue: Stamford Bridge Date: Wednesday, 22 August KO 19:45 GMT
Chelsea midfielder Ramires could feature against Reading on Wednesday, having recovered from the illness that kept him out of Sunday’s win at Wigan.
Summer signing Marko Marin remains sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Reading midfielder Jem Karacan will miss the game after failing to recover from a leg injury.
Striker Jason Roberts is suspended and Jimmy Kebe is out with a hamstring injury. New goalkeeper Stuart Taylor is available but unlikely to start.
Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has the Premier League on red alert following his superb debut in Sunday’s opening win over Wigan, and manager Roberto Di Matteo believes the £32m signing can get even better.
Hazard claimed two assists inside the opening seven minutes on his debut at the DW Stadium and will make his home bow against Reading on Wednesday, a fixture brought forward from the first weekend of September due to Chelsea’s involvement in the UEFA Super Cup a week on Friday.
Reflecting on Hazard’s performance on Sunday, Di Matteo said: “He left his mark on the game. In pre-season, he showed that kind of quality in training. Now, in the Premier League, hopefully there’s more to come from him.”
Chelsea’s other big-money signing, Oscar, only arrived at Chelsea last week and Di Matteo said it may take longer for the Brazilian to have an impact: “He’s not been long with us, so we need to give him the right time to get him used to the team, and our tactics, and slowly put him into the team.”
Di Matteo also insisted there was “no news” when quizzed about suggestions Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta was poised to complete his protracted move from Marseille.
Chelsea will be expected to beat promoted Reading, but the Berkshire club’s goalkeeper Adam Federici insists his side won’t be overawed.
He said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge and I am sure all the other boys will be. I’ve played against [Fernando] Torres before in a cup game and he scored a hat-trick, it will be a good test for us.
“The boys worked extremely hard against Stoke, they are a big strong team and we matched them in every department. We got the deserved point and looking back we were a bit unlucky not to get all three.”
- Chelsea have never lost at home to Reading, winning three and drawing three of their six previous meetings at Stamford Bridge.
- Reading’s last league win against Chelsea was 3-1 at home in the old Division Two in March 1930.
- Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 33 home league matches against promoted clubs since losing 1-0 to Charlton Athletic in April 2001.
- They have won their opening home match of the season in each of the last previous nine years since Roman Abramovich bought the club. They last failed to win their first match at Stamford Bridge in 2002 – a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.
- Frank Lampard has now scored in 16 different Premier League seasons. Only Ryan Giggs (20) and Paul Scholes (18) have a better record.
- Fernando Torres is set to make his 150th Premier League appearance. He has scored 72 goals in the division.
- Reading have failed to win any of their last nine Premier League matches in London, losing the last three.
- The club won only two of 19 away matches during their last season in the Premier League in 2007-08 (13 defeats).
- The Royals dropped fewer points (seven) from winning positions than any other team in the Championship last season.