Six days prior to the new season’s start, the Royals will host Europa League winners Chelsea as José Gomes’ side take on Maurizio Sarri’s men at the Madejski.
We are delighted to announce that our curtain-raiser, pitting Reading against a top flight side who finished third in the Premier League last season, is scheduled for Sunday 28th July, kicking off at 3pm.
Madejski Stadium prepares to open its doors for the first time since we celebrated securing second-tier safety with a point against Birmingham City on the final day of the 2018-19 Sky Bet Championship season.
This fixture will give Royals supporters an opportunity to watch their side in action on home soil in advance of the start of a brand new Championship campaign on Saturday 3rd August. Ticket prices will be confirmed and go on sale to supporters in due course.
The Blues pipped Spurs to finish behind only Manchester City and Liverpool last season, automatically qualifying for the Champions League ahead of their Europa League meeting with Arsenal in Baku last week; a 4-1 win against their London rivals ensured brought more silverware to their well-stocked trophy room at Stamford Bridge.
Reading last met Chelsea when three Premier League points were at stake in January 2013. And few Royals fans will forget a late, late brace from Adam Le Fondre that sent Madejski Stadium into raptures and earned the Royals a valuable point against Rafael Benitez’s Blues.
That evening, Juan Mata and Frank Lampard netted under the lights at the Madejski as the visitors, also including the likes of Fernando Torres, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and John Terry on their teamsheet, strode into a 2-0 lead. But Alfie pulled one back in the 87th minute and then rippled the net with an injury time equaliser.
Next month, we can now look forward to seeing more Chelsea stars potentially take to the turf in RG2 - including David Luiz, Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pedro and recent signing Christian Pulisic.
We last took on Chelsea in a pre-season encounter ten years ago, locking horns with Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the summer of 2009 when Jimmy Kebe and Scott Davies strikes seemed to have handed the Royals a friendly win. However, this time it was Chelsea staging the late comeback - Salomon Kalou halved the deficit late on before Alex Pearce headed past his own keeper to gift the FA Cup holders injury-time parity.
The Royals are due to spend two weeks of their pre-season preparations training and playing friendlies in Spain and it will be Chelsea who await them upon their return to the UK.
Further pre-season details will be announced when they are finalised and fully confirmed.