Chelsea top the Premier League after recovering from 2-1 down to eventually run out 4-2 winners over a battling Reading side at Stamford Bridge. Boosted by a comfortable 2-0 victory at Wigan, Chelsea went into this match as strong favourites and everything seemed to be going to plan in the early stages. Eden Hazard, just as he had done at Wigan, proved too much of a handful for the Reading defence and was brought down in the box. Frank Lampard tucked away confidently to put the home side ahead after 18 minutes. However, it was far from plain sailing for the Blues as Reading rallied strongly before the interval.
A superbly worked move was converted by a glancing header from Pavel Pogrebnyak to pull the Royals level before Danny Guthrie fired them into a shock lead from a free-kick, courtesy of an uncharacteristic blunder from Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal. Chelsea trudged off at half-time a goal behind and Roberto Di Matteo was left to pick them up for a second half recovery mission, introducing Sturridge and Oscar in their frantic search for an equaliser.
The Blues drew level in unexpected fashion when a speculative 30-yard effort from Gary Cahill, in for the injured David Luiz, was somehow allowed to find the back of the net by Adam Federici in the Reading goal. Chelsea sensed that the game was there for the taking and stepped up the pressure. The decisive goal came from striker Fernando Torres who was left with a simple tap in after a cleverly worked move and a cross from Ashley Cole. Replays showed the striker to be in an offside position but Referee Lee Mason and his assistants failed to spot the infringement. Reading’s misery was completed when Federici went forward for a corner in the dying moments of the game only to left high and dry. Branislav Ivanovic was able to slot into an empty net to give Chelsea a flattering 4-2 scoreline at the end of a difficult night’s work.
Di Matteo declared himself happy with the overall performance whilst admitting that his side had lost their composure after Reading drew level. Hazard once again impressed for the Blues and both he and Mata looked threatening. Torres seems to be relishing his role as the spearhead of the attack but Chelsea’s first half wobble will be of some concern. Credit should be given to Reading who pushed Chelsea all the way and could easily have come away with a point had the Torres goal been ruled out. Chelsea’s next Premier League game is at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.