Five talking points ahead of Chelsea v Reading tonight

Torres Goal

Chelsea play their first home game of the season tonight - What are we looking to find out?

Here are five talking points ahead of tonight's match.

Can Fernando Torres find his Premier League goalscoring touch?

At the end of last season Fernando Torres hit a spectacular hat-trick at Stamford Bridge at home to QPR. More of the same will be most welcome here for the striker. This is his 150th game in the Premier League, and he will be keen to get his league goal tally up and running for the season. The longer he goes without scoring the more doubt will creep into his mind, and tonight on the face of it presents an ideal opportunity. Failure to do so will hasten Chelsea's efforts to sign a new striker while the transfer window is still open.

Can Chelsea's midfield supply him with the chances he needs?

Torres had just one shot against Wigan, which was cleared off the line, but clearly he was not being presented with the chances he needed to make an impact. With the talent in midfield behind him, there should be no excuse, so Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and co need to get the supply line working for the striker.

Who drops out for Ramires?

Ramires missed Chelsea's first game of the season, but has been declared fit for tonight. Who will drop out for him? Will it be Jon Obi Mikel? Surely it won't be Frank Lampard, or will it? It really is an embarassment of riches for Roberto di Matteo, but he will have to get his team selection right. Is Lampard - who featured for England last Wednesday, capable of playing four matches - which include the Community Shield, in a fortnight? Then there is Oscar to accommodate. It is more likely he will play off the bench again, but Chelsea's options are frightening for opposition such as Reading.

The statistics are against Reading 

Chelsea have not lost at home to a newly promoted side since 2001, against Charlton. Meanwhile Reading have not beaten Chelsea since 1990. To compound that, Reading failed to win their last nine Premier League matches in London when they were in the division, but can take hope from the fact they took six draws from those nine. A draw tonight would be most welcome, with Chelsea expected by most to run out easy winners. The bookies make Reading 10/1 to win, with a 3-0 to Chelsea scoreline just 7/1.

A tale of two goalkeepers

If Reading are to get anything from tonight, it will depend on goalkeeper Adam Federici being in top form. He wasn't on Saturday, conceding a real howler to Stoke's Michael Kightly, and will have to bounce back quickly. A clean sheet is a big ask, but he will be required not to make the job harder by making any individual mistakes. For Petr Cech, the encounter will bring back memories of the fateful day he fractured his skull against Reading back in 2006. OK so this isn't at the Madejski Stadium, but it will stir his emotions all the same.

What are your predictions for tonight?

image: © Ben Sutherland

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