By Aidan Elder | Chief sports writer
Chelsea v Reading
Wednesday 7.45pm, Stamford Bridge
Chelsea started the new season how they finished off the last – winning, but not exactly impressing. They raced into a 2-0 lead at the DW Stadium, but then spent the next 80 odd minutes hanging on like an agent around a wantaway striker. Wigan created more chances and for all the Pensioners’ lavish summer spending, the weaknesses of last season haven’t been eradicated. The Blues’ new signings, Eden Hazard and Oscar impressed for Chelsea, but it was their more established colleagues who looked a touch rusty.
Let’s not beat up on Chelsea too much. Despite being about as fashionable as a fondue set, Wigan might actually be a decent side. They impressed towards the end of last season and maybe Sunday’s performance is a sign that it was more than a relegation threatened flash in the pan.
The old and the new get another chance to gel when Chelsea host Reading at the Bridge on Wednesday night. It was hard to know what to make of the Royals’ return to the top flight. Adam Federici handed Stoke a goal that the visitors probably deserved anyway, but Reading rallied well and can probably feel justified in getting the penalty that ended up earning them a point.
Chelsea need to improve markedly to have any chance of being title contenders, but they’ll get away with only a slight improvement tonight. Except for the injured Marko Marin and David Luiz, they’ve got a fully fit squad to choose from. If Brian McDermott is to keep his side in the Premier League, it’ll be thanks to results at places other than the likes of Stamford Bridge.