Skip to main content

Last 10 Games


With ten games left Reading have let themselves slip out of the play-off places, but not out of the hunt - especially with a huge amount of teams dropping points. With five consecutive games against teams that should be easily disposed of there's a real chance that The Royals can get back into the top six come the end of the season.

With Leicester and Burnley almost certain of automatic promotion, the biggest story - in terms of the play-offs - from the top two is that Wigan and Reading still have to play both teams, with Brighton, QPR, and Ipswich all having to play one of them. So there are six teams vying for the play-offs, with a few more snapping at their heels, who all have to play three or four of their promotion-rivals. Other than Derby, that is - after their games against Nottingham Forest and Ipswich they have eight games against teams out of the running - and their biggest tests against Watford and Leeds should be when their opponents have nothing to play for.

Derby haven't won in four games, only picking up two points against Bolton and us. They play Nottingham Forest this weekend, who can only boast three points from the last eighteen on offer. In a huge derby anyway there's the added pressure for Forest to stay sitting in sixth place. A win at St Andrew's for The Royals against significantly easier opponents would usurp Forest if they fail to win, and they could find themselves as low as eighth if Brighton also manage to overcome Ipswich.

If Reading want to make the play-offs there's 6 must-win games, and four must-not-lose, and they have the advantage of not having to deal with fixture congestion of some other teams. Wigan have a monumental run-in, which hopefully will see them focus on their cup-run rather than their league form.

The Royals' games home to Leicester, - on a Monday evening - followed by Wigan away on Good Friday are by far the most important, assuming that they manage to win the rest. Definitely games not to lose more than anything else. Plus the following match against Middelsbrough is one that we could slip up on, terrible memories of the 3-0 defeat earlier in the season; a win would be excellent but another that we should strive pick up at least a point in.

So that's 22 points we should pick up, which would see us finish with 78 - enough to reach the semi-finals in every season as far as I can be bothered to go back. Generally around 70 is good enough, and with teams losing form at the exact wrong time it may be enough this year as well.

The last day of the season could be the most crucial with the teams - currently - in 6th and 8th facing off, and Reading in 7th hosting Burnley who hopefully have sealed promotion by this point. In our 2011/12 winning campaign the final two games, after the Championship was secure, saw a draw with Crystal Palace after Roberts was sent off, and a loss to Birmingham who were looking to secure a play-off place. A replication of that at the Madejski on May 3rd would be very welcome.

Personally I can't see QPR or Derby dropping out of the play-offs, espcially not with the latter's run-in. Then there's Wigan, who - before a thrilling 3-3 draw with Yeovil - had six wins in six. With a game in hand over the rest of the pack it'll be interesting to see whether they can balance their cup commitments with their desire for Premier League football. Which leaves The Royals fighting with Brighton - who also have a game in hand - and Nottingham Forest, they too can be caught by The Seagulls should they win their extra match.

Reading are certainly good enough to snatch that spot, and if they can get up a head of steam in the next five then there's no reason why they can't make it their own. The only problem is whether they can fire up the engine quick enough to keep us in contention.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading 0-3 Wigan

Where do you start after an absolute drubbing?

Probably at the root problem, and that was Mark Bowen's tactics. Now, I have no particular issues with 4-4-2 as a system, but I think it's a horrible formation for our collection of players. The 4-1-4-1 works because the two unconvential wide men push up and in toward the striker to form an offensive three (in some way). In a 4-4-2 they have to act as more legitimate wingers, because the two up front are operating in the advanced space. So the decision to play Ejaria - not a particularly quick or direct player - on one wing, with Araruna - someone who has never been in position - is just terrible decision making. It, yet again, screams of Bowen's basic decision process. More attacking = no DM, more strikers.

Please don't get me started on the comment that everyone should know how to play it. You still have to pick the right players.


Not only that, but Wigan were able to play through the lines too easily. With Morsy, Willia…

Bowen's Brand New Box

The first game of pre-season is done, and wasn't it an interesting one? Mark Bowen previewed a brand new 3-6-1, with more central midfielders than anybody could have dreamt of. As theorized we played a back-three and wing-backs. The midfield, however, had that unexpected additional body, meaning that Joao played as a lone striker.Consistency is a much sought after commodity in football, so I suppose it can be classed as a positive that there's only a single new recruit in the squad. Laurent's role as one of the deeper midfielders was slightly surprising, because everything from his stint at Shrewsbury implied that he's a similar, but more offensive player than Rinomhota. Swift takes the majority of the ball, so he's not expected to be the main playmaker, but he was comfortable in possession and picks the right pass when needed. Plus his pressing, and positional play were encouraging.Morrison played in the centre of defensive trio. When he was in possession McIntyre…

A Potted History of Veljko Paunović

Veljko Paunović is Reading manager. The Serbian is a relative unknown here, but after leading his home nation to the U20 World Cup he put his name on the proverbial map. That lead to taking over at MLS side Chicago Fire in 2015, where he stayed for four years before being fired with one of the worst ever MLS records. For the past year, he's been unemployed.Serbia's victory at the U20 World Cup in New Zealand was a surprise. 2015 remains the only tournament that Serbia has qualified for since the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The tournament opened with a loss to Uruguay, a game in which they played a 3-6-1. For the subsequent group games they switched to a 4-2-3-1 or alternated to a 4-1-4-1; both Mali and Mexico were dispatched 2-0.They kept the same set-up for the knock-out phase, but were never as convincing, needing extra time in every round. An injury-time equaliser against Hungary combined with an own goal in the round of 16, penalties were required to see off The USA in the …