Are Reading likely to trouble Chelsea?

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Brian McDermott has a selection dilemma for the home match with Chelsea: he’s started the last two matches with a 4-5-1 formation. However, in both matches he’s changed to a 4-4-2 formation midway through the second half, with fantastic results. First, Reading won 3-2 at home to West Brom, having trailed 2-0, and then they came back from 1-0 down at Newcastle, to record a 2-1 victory.

So what does McDermott do: preserve with the 4-5-1, or move to the shape that has brought second half success? It’s impossible to ignore the strengthof the opposition: Chelsea have a plethora of talented attacking midfielders who thrive on space between the lines, and McDermott will recall how Reading conceded four goals at home Manchester United, and five at home to Arsenal, when he was brave enough to select two strikers. Mikele Leigertwood will probably play a disciplined holding role, shielding the defence.

Therefore, a return to 4-5-1, or 4-1-4-1, to be more precise, seems likely. But who will spearhead the side? Pavel Pogrebnyak has been a regular in the Premier League over the past month, but Adam Le Fondre was excellent in the win at Newcastle as a substitute, while Noel Hunt scored two in the FA Cup win against Sheffield United.

Still, Pogrebnyak will battle against Chelsea’s physical centre-halves and provide a target for crosses, and he seems the most likely lone striker, especially as he scored in the early season defeat at Stamford Bridge. Le Fondre is set to play a supersub role again.

This post courtesy of Pick Our Team is by Michael Cox. PickOurTeam is a new type of football community giving fans an opportunity to have a meaningful say on the formation and selection of their team. PickOurTeam is the voice of the fans – collecting views on who should play where and ratings on how the players, manager, and referee perform each week. Every match the findings are compiled and presented back to the fans. The article was originally posted here.

By Ashley | January 29th, 2013