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Royals Expose Soft Chelsea Belly

Rafa Benitez may be safe in the Chelsea hot-seat for now, with the club still five points clear of fifth place, and in the Champions League zone.

But shipping a two-goal lead against relegation fodder Reading last night did little to enhance the Spaniard’s credential with Chelsea’s impatient supporters, and the even less patient club executives who watched the match unfold disbelievingly in the posh seats.

Chelsea had cruised into a comfortable lead, with a workmanlike if unspectacular display against Reading, who looked out of their depth against the European champions.

Until the last frenetic minutes, that is, when Adam Le Fondre’s quick fire brace left Chelsea hapless and exposed, and wondering where it all went wrong.

They may have recently beaten Arsenal, but draws against  Swansea, Brentford and now Reading suggest Chelsea are lacking a cutting edge, which has led them into dropping points they should have been assured of.

And Benitez admits that the Blues must soon find a way to finish off games in which they have been superior, or their goal of finishing the season in the top-four could well be compromised.

"If you play bad and draw, you can say it's a problem," he said.

"But when you play so well, and have the chances we had … we did a good job, a great game, but we have to manage these little mistakes.

“We need to get the result we deserve."

Le Fondre meanwhile, continues to make a mockery of the era of multi-million pound transfers.

The 26-year-old striker, who joined Reading for just £350,000 from League Two side Rotherham, has now scored five goals in three Premier League appearances, and is understandably gaining a cult following at the Madejski Stadium.

"He's a great bloke, funny and with good banter, and wants to be the best player in training," Reading manager Brian McDermott said of Le Fondre, the working man’s fox in the box.

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