Skip to main content

Murray: Yes or No?

With Reading failing to score far too often - ten matches this season already - there's fierce debate over whether Glenn Murray is the right person to bring in on a permanent deal after a solid loan spell.

Reading actually have a better record without Murray in the team (winning 42% as opposed to 33%), and equally even with Murray's goals he was still a part of 60% of games where Reading failed to score. Obviously the headline figure is Murray has eight goals to his name, tied with Cox as the club's top scorer. The only other viable option to fill the role - Pogrebnyak - only has one, but with only a third of the playing time. Interestingly though if you look back at Pogrebnyak's 13/14 season he's far more efficient, scoring every 5.5 shots (he's taken twelve for his single goal this season), compared to Murray who fires home every 8.

Murray also loses the ball more often, on average being dispossessed 1.3 times and hitting 3.1 misplaced passes over 90 minutes. Pog this season has been dispossessed a similar amount (1.4) but is unsuccessful in his passing only half the time (1.6). The last real field of battle is aerial ability in which Murray far outscores his opponent - winning 47% as opposed to Pog's 38%. However Pog goes up in twice the number of aerial battles, which may show a floor in Reading's plan when he's on the field. He's always shown himself to be much more adept when the ball's played into his feet.

So Murray probably edges out Pog in the stats, but that still doesn't mean he's the right player. Signing Glenn Murray isn't going to be a perfect fix, even if he scored 30 last time he had a full season in the division. There's still numerous games where Reading failed to score with him on the pitch, and without goals from elsewhere on the field it's but a plaster. £2m is also more than the club can afford to spend, particularly when you consider that the player is over 30 and will have neither resale value, or a long term future. You only need look at Roberts to see how poor contracts can hamper a club.

Personally I don't see Murray as the answer, especially considering the price tag in relation to the club's financial position. I'd like to see HRK given a chance in behind Pog, with Blackman on the wing. While the latter has been poor finishing, his dribbling and skill is welcomed on the wing, and has put some great crosses in, even if they haven't been converted. HRK is obviously having a stinker of a season, but his lack of creativity is somewhat negated when played so high up the pitch. Both have killer shots from distance as well, which might just kickstart the goals from midfield.

I'm not well versed enough in the lower leagues to know if there's players to bring in. I'm gutted we missed out on Andre Gray, who has ten goals in twenty five appearances, is still only twenty-three, and appears to have made the step up from the conference look easy. Similarly Patrick Bamford, on loan at Middlesbrough, has eight goals in just sixteen starts and only Federici's acrobatics kept him out earlier in the month. There are definitely players out there if Reading want to take the chance, or promoting from within worked well earlier in the season; we'll just have to wait and see what the new owners have in store, but with two-thirds of the window gone it does seem to be 'business as usual'.


Popular posts from this blog

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. The 3-6-1. Swift and Laurent are allowed to go forward but are usually content with being behind the play. 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 positio

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

Replacing Omar Richards

In the summer team report I wrote: "we  really  don't want to be going into 2021/2022 without any LBs so a new contract for Omar has to be on the agenda early". And yet, that seems to be exactly what's happening with Richards set to depart for pastures new. Whether he goes to Bayern Munich or not, bigger clubs are circling. There's a couple of options internally, and the club are also looking elsewhere. Ethan Bristow The youngster has been the go-to left-back for cup matches and tends to start for the U23s. He's been brought onto the bench since Richards' injury, but has found himself behind Gibson and McIntyre in the pecking order. Bristow's little run inside drags the right-back narrow, and gives Aluko space to attack He has good vision to spot a pass, and often plays them first time to not allow the defence to put him under pressure. That's normally followed by an intelligent run, and not always to get the ball - sometimes he simply pulls a defe