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Reading v Southampton – live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Reading v Southampton – as it happens from the Madejski Stadium

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

03:00 GMT, 6 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 6 April 2013

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Reading host Southampton at the Madejski Stadium to begin the weekend's action.

The Royals are rock bottom of the table and are desperate for a victory that would take them within four points of safety. But they take on a Saints side that have improved in the second half of the campaign and will be targeting a third successive win to ease their own relegation fears.

Send your views, predictions and comments to [email protected]

12.20pm: Just a little more detail on the teams:

Reading manager Nigel Adkins makes five changes to his side. Adam Federici returns in goal after an ankle injury, while Sean Morrison, Chris Gunter, Hope Akpan and Adam Le Fondre come in after the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino meanwhile makes one alteration at the Madejski Stadium, with Gaston Ramirez coming in for Jason Puncheon.

12.10pm: This has the makings of a cracking game, in my humble opinion. Reading are in desperate need of the points which means they'll be even more vulnerable than usual.

Southampton meanwhile are on something of a roll after fine back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Chelsea.

And I haven't mentioned Nigel Adkins taking on his old team.

What more could you ask for

12pm: Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of this afternoon's clash between Reading and Southampton.

The teams are very much in…

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Karacan, Akpan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Cork, Ramirez, S Davis, Rodriguez, Lambert

Jump for joy: Jason Puncheon's strike helped Southampton to a 1-0 win over Reading in December

Jump for joy: Jason Puncheon's strike helped Southampton to a 1-0 win over Reading in December

Gareth Barry admits Manchester City panic before Reading victory

We panicked! Barry reveals City relief after his late winner over Reading

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UPDATED:

14:26 GMT, 23 December 2012

Match-winner Gareth Barry admitted panic had almost started to set in before his late heroics salvaged victory for Manchester City over struggling Reading.

The champions had been in danger of dropping vital points to the Barclays Premier League's bottom side before Barry headed home in injury time to snatch a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

City had gone into the game trailing rivals Manchester United by six points at the top of the table and, after failing to make the most of a clear superiority, had looked like handing their neighbours another boost.

Last action hero: Gareth Barry celebrates his late winner for Manchester City with team-mate David Slva

Last action hero: Gareth Barry celebrates his late winner for Manchester City with team-mate David Slva

But the hosts fought to the end and, despite claims by Reading that he benefited from climbing on the back of Nicky Shorey, Barry rose to meet a David Silva cross to plant home a firm header.

Midfielder Barry said: 'I am relieved and delighted at the same time, to get a goal that late.

'You are starting, probably, to panic, thinking we are going to drop some big points at home again.

'It is difficult, especially when you don't get the breakthrough early.

'The longer the game goes on the more you could see the Reading players growing in confidence.

'They started to believe they could keep us out for the 90 minutes. Even towards the end they were believing they could maybe get the winning goal.'

Royals boss Brian McDermott claimed the decision by referee Mike Dean to award the goal, as well as earlier denying his side a penalty, had ruined his Christmas.

Heads you win: Barry nods home City's winner past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici

Heads you win: Barry nods home City's winner past Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici

Barry felt he had merely been playing for the ball.

He said: 'At the time I felt I just got up and Nicky Shorey was just standing there.

'I probably went over the top of him. I'm delighted the referee hasn't seen it as a foul.'

City dominated in all departments and had 17 attempts on goal to their opponents' six, although they did not regularly test goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Reading showed great defensive resolve throughout and Alex Pearce had two good headed opportunities from corners.

Jay Tabb thought he should have had a penalty after colliding with City youngster Karim Rekik during a second-half counter-attack – when Matija Nastasic might also have escaped with a handball – but Reading's spirited efforts were not rewarded.

City's 2012, particularly their dramatic title success, will be remembered for late goals and they ended their home programme for the year in typical fashion.

Barry, 31, added on City TV: 'You have got to [keep going] at this level. We scored so many late goals last season and a few this year.

'Those late goals can be so important at the end of the season and hopefully that will be another one.'

With three more games to come in just over a week, Barry felt the points were vital to keep the pressure on United.

He said: 'It is very important. When there is a little gap it is important you don't slip away too much further.

'If we can keep chipping away we are going to be there at the end of the season.'

Theo Walcott thrives at centre of attention – Sami Mokbel

Theo thrives as centre of attention after Arsenal dismantle Reading at Madejski

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UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 18 December 2012

So, this was Theo Walcott's moment. His moment to prove to Arsene Wenger – and maybe even himself – that he can be the bona fide central striker he so desperately wants to be.

Having recovered from the calf injury that kept him out of Arsenal's previous three matches, Walcott was handed an instant return to the starting line-up.

His inclusion came as no surprise because Wenger had to make changes after last Tuesday's shameful Capital One Cup loss to League Two Bradford.

Thriving: Theo Walcott proved Arsene Wenger made a good call to start him up front

Thriving: Theo Walcott proved Arsene Wenger made a good call to start him up front

But where would he play With Olivier
Giroud on the bench, the role of the Gunners' lone striker was up for
grabs and Wenger gave Walcott his chance.

But for a curling free-kick he fired
comfortably wide, the 23-year-old started slowly as he struggled to get
to grips with his new role.

He cut a frustrated figure as his team-mates failed to provide the England international with suitable service.

It was not looking like the audition
Walcott had hoped for as he failed to beat Adam Federici when one on
one with the Australian keeper in the 20th minute.

Shake on it Walcott got off to a slow start against Reading but scored his side's fifth goal

Shake on it Walcott got off to a slow start against Reading but scored his side's fifth goal

Good form: Theo Walcott put on a fine display up front for the Gunners

Good form: Theo Walcott put on a fine display up front for the Gunners

All smiles: Walcott shares a moment with his manager

All smiles: Walcott shares a moment with his manager

Taking Santi Cazorla's pass, he
failed to show the deadly conviction needed from a top-level striker. To
be fair, his build-up play was neat and economical – his cross that led
to Cazorla's second of the night showed tremendous creative vision.

But his deficiencies in front of goal
were shown again early in the second half when he failed to convert
with just Federici to beat before firing a long-range effort just wide.

Thankfully his efforts in front of goal were finally rewarded in the final 10 minutes as he stroked home to seal victory.

There's no doubt Walcott offers a
threat as a striker, but he will know that goals will be handy to get
him a 100,000-per-week contract.

Adam Federici happy to keep clean sheet on return to Premier League action with Reading

Federici happy to keep Norwich at bay on first top flight start for three months

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 11 November 2012

Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici was pleased to keep a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw Norwich to mark his return to the Royals' starting line-up.

The Australia international had not featured in a Barclays Premier League game for Brian McDermott's side since the 4-2 defeat at Chelsea on August 22 but had very little to do.

He was recalled for the enthralling Capital One Cup tie with Arsenal as the Gunners came from behind to win 7-5 and came back into the McDermott's league side following an injury to first-choice Alex McCarthy last weekend.

Solid: Adam Federici was pleased to keep a clean sheet on his Premier League return

Solid: Adam Federici was pleased to keep a clean sheet on his Premier League return

Federici, 27, shipped 14 goals in his four previous outings this season and was delighted to keep Norwich at bay.

'It is good to be back, it has been a tough time for me at the minute but it is good to be back in the team and the boys worked really hard today, defensively we were very solid and deserved a clean sheet,' he told Reading FC Player.

'It was a good test, they are a good team and as I said our boys were solid which we have been lacking in the last few games in particular so it was nice for everyone to get a clean sheet.

'It is a good feeling being back in the team and a good feeling coming off with a clean sheet.'

Federici, who made headlines for the wrong reasons when his girlfriend lambasted Reading officials for initially dropping him from the side, felt the Royals did enough to pick up their first league win of the season but is already looking ahead to the clash with high-flying Everton next weekend.

He said: 'We had a few half-chances and maybe could have nicked all three points but at the end of the day it is something to build on and we look forward to the next game.

'We always look forward to the next game and Everton are a team very much in form at the minute but I think for all the fans who watch the game when you come to the Madejski Stadium it is a tough game for them.'

Exertion: Garath McCleary tried hard to break through but his side are still looking for their first win

Exertion: Garath McCleary tried hard to break through but his side are still looking for their first win

In a game of little quality and few chances Norwich striker Grant Holt missed the best chance when he mis-timed a header in the latter stages.

Garath McCleary, Sean Morrison and Jobi McAnuff all had chances for Reading but Norwich held on to keep their first clean sheet on the road for 38 Premier League games.

Canaries boss Chris Hughton was pleased with his side's effort at the back but admits it is hard for a team like Norwich to strike a balance at both ends of the pitch.

'We had to defend a lot of crosses, a lot of corners and a lot of free-kicks but that aspect of the game we did well,' he said.

'Sometimes you do have to sacrifice a little bit, the best teams can be good at both ends – we know where we are and if we want to be competitive and be in every game we have to make sure we are tight as a unit.'

Resistance: Noel Hunt of Reading holds off Sebastien Bassong

Resistance: Noel Hunt of Reading holds off Sebastien Bassong

The goalless draw saw Norwich secure their eighth point from their last four league games after a poor run of form had seen them drop perilously close to the bottom three.

Hughton believes the three back-to-back defeats to Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea sparked his team into life.

'It is a reaction from the poor result we had at Chelsea, which was two poor results on the spin,' he said.

'They have shown a great reaction and we have consistency in the team now – that always helps.

'One good result sometimes can lead into another and another and probably that is what is happening at the moment.'

Reading 0 Norwich 0 – match report

Reading 0 Norwich 0: Royals search goes on as Canaries find their feet

Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:52 GMT, 10 November 2012

|

UPDATED:

17:12 GMT, 10 November 2012

Reading remain in the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League
after being held to a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium by Norwich.

The Canaries travelled to Berkshire in good form, having picked up
seven points in their last three league outings, but both teams were
guilty of poor finishing and wasteful possession in a match that lacked
any moment of quality.

Committed: Grant Holt of Norwich battles for the ball

Committed: Grant Holt of Norwich battles for the ball

MATCH FACTS

Reading: Federici, Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey, McCleary (Kebe 60), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts (Le Fondre 78), Hunt (Pogrebnyak 60). Subs Not Used: Stuart Taylor, Mariappa, Robson-Kanu, Cummings.

Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido, Snodgrass (Elliott Bennett 86), Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan,Holt (Morison 85). Subs Not Used: Bunn,Howson, Jackson, Tierney, Ryan Bennett.

Booked: Turner.

Att: 24,080

Ref: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

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The game started slowly and, other than a few profligate efforts sprinkled throughout the match, it never had the tempo required to get the home fans fully behind their side's quest for a maiden league victory.

Norwich midfielder Robert Snodgrass had an early run at the Reading defence following a ball-winning tackle by Alexander Tettey, but his shot was deflected into the arms of Adam Federici.

The Australia international was featuring in his first league game since Reading's 4-2 defeat at Chelsea on August 22, but remained untested in the opening exchanges.

The hosts started to get on top after 10 minutes and had a number of set-piece opportunities that ultimately led to nothing.

The first chance of note came after a quarter of an hour when Royals' winger Garath McCleary fired in a long-range effort that was parried away by John Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

Norwich, who have only scored eight goals in the league so far this season, were struggling to provide decent service to lone striker Grant Holt.

Garath McCleary of Reading tussels with Javier Garrido of Norwich

Garath McCleary of Reading tussels with Javier Garrido of Norwich

Up and down: Garath McCleary of Reading tussels with Javier Garrido of Norwich

Garath McCleary of Reading tussels with Javier Garrido of Norwich

Garath McCleary of Reading tussels with Javier Garrido of Norwich

Bradley Johnson, last weekend's match winner against Stoke, ballooned an
effort high over Federici's crossbar midway through the first half as
the visitors started to come back into the contest.

Snodgrass then missed the best chance of the game as he headed Wes Hoolahan's cross wide.

But it was Reading who almost took the lead after half an hour as
Sebastien Bassong dallied on the ball and was robbed by Jason Roberts on
the touchline.

The experienced striker flashed the ball across goal and Michael Turner managed to turn it behind for a corner.
Neither side could find enough quality to come close to breaking the
deadlock before the interval, with a header over from Reading defender
Kaspars Gorkss and a deflected Steven Whittaker effort for Norwich the
only notable efforts on goal.

Rare sight: Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass has an effort on goal

Rare sight: Norwich City's Robert Snodgrass has an effort on goal

The same lacklustre pattern followed at the start of the second half
with Hoolahan guilty of mistiming an effort from the edge of the Reading
penalty area.

Reading boss Brian McDermott tried to inject fresh impetus into his side
with an hour gone, introducing Jimmy Kebe and Pavel Pogrebnyak from the
bench, with McCleary and Noel Hunt making way.

Norwich were starting to use the ball better in possession but could not create enough in and around the final third.
Hoolahan's cross was too high for skipper Holt and Reading almost took
the lead as they broke up the other end and saw Sean Morrison head Nicky
Shorey's free-kick just wide of Ruddy's right-hand post.

High jump: Reading's Sean Morrison

High jump: Reading's Sean Morrison

With their backs up, the home side enjoyed a spell of meaningful
possession and again came close as captain Jobi McAnuff arrowed a shot
inches over the crossbar before Kebe's cross bounced on top of the
woodwork moments later.

With 20 minutes remaining Holt was presented with the best chance of the
game but he mistimed his jump as he looked to head Javier Garrido's
cross past Federici and the ball looped out of play.

Chris Gunter then mirrored Bassong's first-half error as he lost the
ball to Holt and the Wales full-back was lucky the Canaries could not
make him pay.

Norwich defender Turner was the first man to be booked by referee Chris
Hoy with just over 10 minutes remaining as he cynically slid in on
Roberts after the forward had skipped past him with the ball.

Up for it: Jobi McAnuff of Reading battles with Steven Whittaker of Norwich

Up for it: Jobi McAnuff of Reading battles with Steven Whittaker of Norwich

It was to prove to be Roberts' last involvement as McDermott threw on
Adam Le Fondre in search of a goal that would likely seal the three
points.

With the game opening up in the closing stages, both teams found
themselves with chances as Snodgrass failed to make enough contact to a
header when well-placed in the Reading box.

Anthony Pilkington was the next player guilty of poor finishing as he
latched on to Holt's clever flick before firing high and wide from 25
yards, and Holt then forced a simple save out of Federici with a tame
header.

The last 10 minutes were similar to the rest of the game, with both sets
of players working hard but ultimately coming up short in the search
for a winning goal.

Anfield holds no fear for McDermott as Reading boss hopes to make it two wins from two

Anfield holds no fear! McDermott hopes to make it two wins from two

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UPDATED:

00:19 GMT, 19 October 2012

Without any victories in their opening six Barclays Premier League games, it would be understandable if Brian McDermott thought a trip to Anfield was the last thing his Reading players needed.

But the Royals manager has every right to feel more confident that might be assumed. On his only previous visit, while he was still caretaker boss in January 2010, his team knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup on their own patch.

When you consider Liverpool have won just twice at home this calendar year and a victory for the visitors would leapfrog them over the hosts, the signs are actually quite positive.

Tough start: Reading are in the bottom three of the Premier League

Tough start: Reading are in the bottom three of the Premier League

‘Played one won one,’ McDermott observed. ‘I remember the game very well. We were 1-0 down and we got a penalty with two minutes to go. Gylfi (Sigurdsson) scored a fantastic penalty. We played really well in extra time and Shane (Long) got the winner.

‘I remember (Yossi) Benayoun having a good chance to make it 2-2 but Feds (Adam Federici) made the save.

‘We just got beat 4-1 by Plymouth away from home when we had to play Liverpool at the Madejski and we drew 1-1. Obviously we were written off in the replay. But we managed to go there and get a result.

Happy days: Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) made it one apiece at Anfield

Happy days: Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) made it one apiece at Anfield

‘It’s such a fantastic club and the atmosphere in the stadium is fabulous. They’re real football people. I’ve got a lot of time for their supporters.

‘Going anywhere in this league is never going to be easy but it’s a real opportunity. We just want to make sure we take the opportunity.’

The match sees McDermott take on his predecessor at Reading, Brendan Rodgers, who left the club by mutual consent in December 2009 just six months after joining following a string of poor results.

The two spent years working together in the Reading academy before Rodgers left for Chelsea and McDermott is impressed with what he has achieved since. After a tough start at Liverpool, he thinks the Northern Irishman needs patience from the owners.

‘You need time,’ McDermott said. ‘He’s got to set up the way that they’re going to play. His philosophy is his philosophy. The players have got to get used to the way Brendan wants them to play.

‘I was the academy manager and Brendan was with the under-17s. I wouldn’t say I was the boss of him. It’s a fantastic story if you think about it, what he’s done, where he’s got to.

‘It’s a great story for any aspiring young coach to see where he’s ended up. He’s done a lot of work over the years. He’s worked with the young kids here who’ve still got a real affinity with Reading. We’ll have a drink after the game.’

But McDermott is not so keen on the behind-the-scenes documentary about Rodgers and Liverpool currently airing. ‘It wouldn’t be for me,’ he said.

‘I think that was probably something owner-driven rather than anything else. So if that’s what the owner of the club wanted then I would have a view on it. But I’m not sure I’d be very entertaining.’

Brian McDermott attempts to diffuse Adam Federici Twitter row

McDermott attempts to diffuse Twitter row after Federici's girlfriend hits out

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UPDATED:

12:12 GMT, 19 September 2012

Rant: Federici with his girlfriend Micaela Gardner

Rant: Federici with his girlfriend Micaela Gardner

Reading manager Brian McDermott is sure there is no unrest within the dressing room following a Twitter outburst by Adam Federici's girlfriend.

The Australian goalkeeper was dropped for Sunday's home match with Tottenham, with Alex McCarthy playing in his place.

Federici's partner Micaela Gardner took to her now-deleted Twitter account after the 3-1 defeat to express her disappointment at McDermott's decision.

She posted: 'Football has left me feeling totally numb and empty inside! For once I have NO explanation! #noloyalty #absolutejoke.'

She added: 'Unbelievable!!! You need thick skin for success!!'

But McDermott has moved to calm talk of problems behind the scene.

'There's nothing I can do about someone's Twitter feed,' he said.

'I can't help what players or their girlfriends put on Twitter – if that's the case, then it's a shame.

Blunder-ful: Federici has made a shaky start to life in the Premier League

Blunder-ful: Federici has made a shaky start to life in the Premier League

'The fact of the matter is that I spoke to Adam and made a decision that Alex McCarthy was going to play.

'No player at the club has a position that means they will play every week – no player.

'Adam Federici has done fantastic for me and I know him really well as a person and player.

'He works really hard, but things haven't gone his way at the start of the season so Alex has come into the team. It's no different for a full-back, centre-half or striker.

'If there is Twitter stuff going on and there are emotional messages then there is not a lot I can do about that.

'I'm not one of these managers that says you will get fined 1,000 for going on Twitter.'

Reading v Tottenham live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Reading v Tottenham – the action from the Madejski Stadium as it happens

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UPDATED:

14:51 GMT, 16 September 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Reading host Tottenham at the Madejski Stadium for Sunday's only top flight fixture. Both sides are still searching for their first wins of the campaign having picked up just one and two points respectively. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

Reading v Tottenham (4pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce,
Gorkss, Harte, McCleary, Leigertwood, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff,
Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Mariappa, Le Fondre, Hunt,
Robson-Kanu, Cummings.

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker,
Vertonghen, Gallas, Naughton, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Sandro, Dembele, Bale,
Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Adebayor, Dawson, Townsend,
Caulker.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Click here for the live Premier league table

15.49: Quick warning to you out there as I'm sure many of you will be wondering why when you see it.

Forward, Clint Dempsey will wear the number 2 shirt for Tottenham, but it was his choice as it was the number given to him by his parents. The American wore it right from when he first kicked a ball as a toddler.

15.46: Mousa Dembele makes his full Tottenham debut as Andre Villas-Boas looks to register his first win in charge away to Reading.

Kyle Naughton makes his first Barclays Premier League start in place of Benoit Assou-Ekotto while new signings Clint Dempsey and Hugo Lloris are named among the Spurs substitutes.

Reading boss Brian McDermott drops Adam Federici from his matchday squad after three disappointing performances from the Australia goalkeeper.

15.41: It's also interesting to see Jermain Defoe starts up front on his own again. I struggle to think of an occasion when that ever worked, many Spurs fans might too.

15.38: Interesting thoughts from Villas-Boas before the match in an interview with Sky Sports.

He claims Friedel will remain No. 1 in the Premier League and that Lloris completely understands the situation.

He also pointed out that Spurs have only played badly in one match (the home draw to Norwich).

The Portuguese boss has a point, but in a results driven business it isn't happening for him so far.

15.35: Full line-ups from the Madejski Stadium:

Reading v Tottenham
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Pearce, Gorkss, Harte, McCleary, Leigertwood, Karacan, Guthrie, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Shorey, Mariappa, Le Fondre, Hunt, Robson-Kanu, Cummings.

Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Naughton, Lennon, Sigurdsson, Sandro, Dembele, Bale, Defoe. Subs: Lloris, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Adebayor, Dawson, Townsend, Caulker.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

15.30: From OptaJoe:

9 – Only Sunderland (10) have lost more PL matches to newly-promoted sides in the last five seasons than Spurs. Tripped

15.27: It's also worth noting Chris Gunter lines up against his former side, with the Reading full-back featuring 16 times in 18 months between 2008 and 2009 at Tottenham.

Meanwhile Lloris makes the Spurs bench alongside fellow new signing Clint Dempsey.

Good old days: Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) celebrates scoring for Reading against Liverpool in 2010

Good old days: Gylfi Sigurdsson (left) celebrates scoring for Reading against Liverpool in 2010

15.24: Other news sees Spurs midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson making a starting return to Reading.

The Icelandic midfielder began his career at the Madejski Stadium in 2008 before being sold to Hoffenheim for 6m two years later. The home fans will have fond memories of him.

15.21: All the goalkeeping talk this week has been about Brad Friedel keeping out Hugo Lloris for Spurs, but it seems Reading want in on the gloves war too.

Adam Federici is dropped from the starting line-up as 22-year-old Alex McCarthy takes his place – he has 16 previous appearances for the club.

15.18: Tottenham starting XI:

Friedel, Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Naughton, Sandro, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Bale, Lennon, Defoe.

15.15: Reading starting XI:

McCarthy, Gunter, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, McCleary, Guthrie, Pogrebnyak.

15.10: If you never needed proof that patience is becoming a thing of football past, you only have to go down to Tottenham these days.

Already new manager, Andre Villas-Boas is feeling the heat following three games and just two points.

Failure to win today will pile more pressure on the Portuguese boss, but all this seems ridiculously premature.

It seems AVB has backing from his full-back Kyle Walker though, who has called for calm as a new-look Spurs side try to gel.

15.00: Just the one Premier League game today but what a potentially cracking one it is. New boys Reading play their first game in nearly a month as they host a struggling Spurs side still looking for their first win under Andre Villas-Boas. It's unlikely to fall flat whatever way it goes and the team news is on the way.

Slow starts: Reading and Tottenham are yet to record league victories this term

Slow starts: Reading and Tottenham are yet to record league victories this term

Fernando Torres offside for Chelsea goal, rages Reading boss Brian McDermott

Di Matteo sidesteps offside row but Reading boss McDermott rages at Torres decision

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UPDATED:

22:16 GMT, 22 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Reading boss Brian McDermott confirmed he confronted the assistant referee he accused of costing his side a famous result against the European champions after the Royals' 4-2 defeat at Chelsea.

McDermott's Barclays Premier League new boys were on course for at least a 2-2 draw in their opening away game at Stamford Bridge when the officials allowed an offside-looking Fernando Torres goal to stand.

Admitting he had made a beeline for the assistant who kept his flag down after the final whistle, a 'gutted' McDermott said: 'He (Torres) was offside and it was not a good night for him (the assistant).

Predator: Fernando Torres (left) scored the decisive goal to send Chelsea top of the league

Predator: Fernando Torres (left) scored the decisive goal to send Chelsea top of the league

Controversial: Torres (right) tapped in Chelsea's third goal from what looked like an offside position

Controversial: Torres (right) tapped in Chelsea's third goal from what looked like an offside position

'It's not been a good night for me, either.'

He added: 'I just said to him he'd got it wrong.

'My gut feeling was that it was offside, and it was clearly offside. Unfortunate for him. He said he'd have a look at it. He can have a look at it. That's life. People makes mistakes, and he's made a mistake tonight.

'It's just a shame it was for such a crucial goal because we would definitely have got a point.

'I'm really disappointed for the players. We didn't deserve to lose the game. I thought we were going to win it when we got to 70-odd minutes.'

Indeed, npower Championship winners Reading held a shock 2-1 lead until the 69th minute, having bounced back from Frank Lampard's penalty through Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Guthrie's first goals for the club.

The latter came courtesy of a Petr Cech howler but it was not only the Chelsea goalkeeper and officials who messed up. Reading keeper Adam Federici had a nightmare of his own for the second time in five days to gift Gary Cahill an equaliser.

Spirited: Reading battled back from behind and looked like pulling off an upset at one stage

Spirited: Reading battled back from behind and looked like pulling off an upset at one stage

From Russia with love: Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak hit the target with a brilliant header

From Russia with love: Reading striker Pavel Pogrebnyak hit the target with a brilliant header

McDermott said: 'I'm not concerned about him at all. He's got fantastic mentality.

'It's like everything: once a result has happened, you have to box it off. You can't affect that. You have to move on.

'He's not overwhelmed by the Premier League. It was just one of those things. The shot's moved and it's gone in. That's life. Nothing we can do about that now.'

Spot on: Playmaker Eden Hazard won a penalty for Chelsea for the second successive match

Spot on: Playmaker Eden Hazard won a penalty for Chelsea for the second successive match

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo said he had yet to see Torres' goal, which also allowed Branislav Ivanovic to kill off Reading on the break.

'I looked at the linesman straight away and he gave it straight away, so I can't comment,' said Di Matteo, who was pleased to see his side go top of the Premier League for the first time since November 2010.

All too easy: Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (right) scored the final goal of the night into an unguarded net

All too easy: Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic (right) scored the final goal of the night into an unguarded net

He said: 'We are very pleased with six points after two games.

'I was very happy with the team performance for long periods of the game.

'We
lost a bit our composure after Reading scored the equaliser and second
goal, but we'd started off very well, with some great football, and
finished off very strongly.'

Chelsea 4 Reading 2 – match report

Chelsea 4 Reading 2: Torres breaks Royals resistance but visitors rage over offside call

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UPDATED:

20:42 GMT, 22 August 2012

Fernando Torres broke Reading hearts with an 81st-minute strike from what clearly looked like an offside position as Chelsea came from behind to beat a spirited Reading at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard had put the European champions in front from the penalty spot after just 18 minutes but a brilliant glancing header from Pavel Pogrebnyak dragged the Royals level seven minutes later. And Brian McDermott's side took a shock lead into the half-time break as Danny Guthrie's free-kick squirmed through Petr Cech.

A second goalkeeping howler of the game saw Chelsea draw level with 21 minutes remaining, as Gary Cahill's 35-yard shot somehow beating Adam Federici before Torres popped up in the box to tap home Ashley Cole's pass.

And with Reading desperately chasing an equaliser, Branislav Ivanovic stroked the ball into an empty net with Federici up the field following a corner.

More to follow.

Match-winner: Fernando Torres pops up to score the decisive goal at Stamford Bridge

Match-winner: Fernando Torres pops up to score the decisive goal at Stamford Bridge

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Mikel (Sturridge 68), Lampard; Ramires (Oscar 57), Hazard, Mata (Meireles 84); Torres.

Subs not used: Turnbull, Essien, Romeu, Bertrand.

Goals: Lampard (pen) 18, Cahill 70, Torres 81, Ivanovic 90

Reading: Federici; Gunter, Harte, Gorkss, Pearce; Leigertwood, Guthrie, Karacan (Le Fondre 72), McAnuff, McCleary (Robson-Kanu 86); Pogrebnyak (Hunt 77)

Subs not used: McCarthy, Mariappa, Tabb, Cummings.

Goals: Pogrebniak 25, Guthrie 29

Booked: Karacan, Pogrebnyak

Referee: Lee Mason

Attendance: 41,733

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