Reading and Chelsea were set to kick off a bit later than the rest of the clubs looking to secure Champions League places today, but they might have taken that late kickoff thing a bit too far. In what is quickly becoming a disturbing trend, Chelsea started the game looking like a mid-table team who were going to need some luck to get anything by a Reading side that is sitting in the relegation zone. Then Fernando Torres found Juan Mata for an excellent goal, and Chelsea managed to go into the break with a lead.
The second half got underway with no changes for Chelsea, and the product on the pitch really didn't change all that much either. The game remained fairly sloppy, and outside of a fantastic looking but well off target attempt from Oscar, there was very little to get excited about. Then Frank Lampard headed home a corner for goal number 196, and Chelsea looked like they were going to cruise home. As has become far too common with CHelsea these days though, they'd collapse and end up drawing the game 2-2.
Results elsewhere generally went well for Chelsea, with Arsenal, Tottenham, and Liverpool all dropping points with draws. Manchester United and Everton both won, so Chelsea lost ground on the leaders and also lost groud to fifth place. Here are my initial thoughts after yet another epic collapse under Rafa Benitez's watch:
- While the opening 15 minutes were exceedingly dull on the pitch, I was more than a little amused by the crowd. The Reading fans were chanting "Rafa Benitez, he thinks you're all scum" at the Chelsea support, and the Chelsea fans responded by applauding the Reading support. Even the most out of touch members of the board have to realize what a terrible idea bringing Rafa Benitez back next season would be by now.
- The fox soccer twitter feed was kind of hilarious to follow during this one. They had the rights to several Premier League games, and kept tweeting discussion starters about El Clasico. I suppose it doesn't matter if they are supporting a rival network as they lose the rights to the Premier League next season anyway.
- I thought Fernando Torres looked better than he has in some time in terms of his movement today. His runs were the right ones for the most part, and his decision making was generally solid. It really is a shame that he's lost so much explosiveness, as he just no longer has the physical tools to do the things he once did. Playing the way he did today though, Torres can be an effective backup going forward.
- The Chelsea double pivot looked better today, although it's not hard when your opponent never has the ball.
- Just once, I'd love to see Chelsea close out a win comfortably without making things far too interesting at the close of the game. What the hell guys? Seriously.
- Chelsea have still never lost a game with Ryan Bertrand starting at left wing, but they don't generally look good in those games either.
- I'm going to start drinking now. This. Game. Was. Awful. Please bring Guus back ASAP, Rafa just has to go at this point.