Skip to main content

4-4-2 or No?

A busy transfer window for Reading saw huge change at the usually consistent club. Stalwarts Pearce, Federici, and Karacan all left, with almost a dozen new faces coming in. Hector's surprise move to Chelsea on deadline day sealed what had been a frantic few months.

So the next question, ahead of tonight's game against Ipswich, is, 'what's the best way to line up our new squad'?

The obvious answer to that would be the good, old-fashioned 4-4-2. Sá has shown himself to hold up the ball excellently, and can bring new(er) boy Vydra into the attack. We've already seen the former's heading of the ball to be a threat, while the latter is ferocious in the box with his feet. Combined with the creativity of McCleary and Hurtado down both wings, there's sure to be goals.


Williams can continue his role as the aggressor, picked over Quinn for his dribbling from deep, and shooting from distance. They're similar players, but Williams' ability to pick the team up with a driving run is a crucial part of Reading's game plan. Norwood, so far, has managed to find form, and his defensive contribution is off the charts compared to that of his midfield team mates. Obviously his impressive passing can only be a bonus while playing in the deeper role, and will hopefully be able to set up attacks; irrelevant of the situation.

The back four effectively picks itself, with some question marks over whether Ferdinand or Hector should partner McShane at the back. Personally, Ferdinand's experience and calm head wins out over the occasionally rash Hector. We've been solid at the back so far this season, and Hector's mix up with Al-Habsi at Portsmouth only adds to the questions over whether his selection would be the correct one. He also seems to lose his head slightly after making a mistake, and often attempts to force the game where he has no right doing so. I would not be surprised, however, if the loan agreement requires him to play, and in that case Ferdinand will find himself back on the bench, harshly. Bond, although not convincing, is still first choice in my mind, especially with such a good defence protecting him.

Obviously the line-up leaves out Blackman, who has been involved in 3 of our 5 goals so far this season, but overall it's a risk worth taking. Vydra only played the full game eleven times last season, so no doubt Nick would still get a look in.

It wouldn't be hard to play the more modern 4-2-3-1 with the same line-up, with Vydra dropping back in to a AMC role, or possibly Álex Fernández coming in to the starting XI.


Reading - Football tactics and formations

I also think there's a possibility of playing a 3-5-2, although whether the comparisons to Swindon would be worth it is another issue entirely. While McShane and Ferdinand have been solid at the back, and I have no doubt that Hector would be solid with such cover beside him, it does leave us more open at the back. Obita and Gunter have played well, and provide a much needed injection of pace. McCleary and Hurtado would also need to track back more in order to cover the wings, and that's a big ask for two players who haven't been fully fit although the energy of both Quinn and Williams would be a bonus. It's definitely a 'we'll score more than you' formation, and that's exciting but not necessarily intelligent.

Reading - Football tactics and formations

On the tenth anniversary of our ascension to the top division, and a smashing of the points record, with the same formation, surely 4-4-2 is the way to go?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Scout Report: Brentford

It almost feels superfluous to write about a Brentford team who have already been covered so extensively. Famed for their player recruitment the core of their side is a young, attack-minded group of players who seemingly love to play together. They tend to play 4-3-3, with Watkins as the main striker, and Benrahma and Mbeumo attempting to find space to either side of him. The midfield three is given stability by Christian Norgaard in the holding role, while Dasilva and Jensen are free to push on. Even goalkeeper David Raya Martin is crucial to the team's attacking intent. His quick distribution reminiscent of Marcus Hahnemann bowling out to Bobby Convey to set the winger away. That said defensively the Spaniard can occasionally be caught out, infamously allowing Ryan Tafazolli to pass the ball from the halfway line into the Brentford net. That's not the only mistake he's made this year - a missed punch condemned Brentford to a loss at Kenilworth Road, and similarly lead to

Reading FC Season Review | 2020/2021

When your season starts with your manager having to watch your opening match from the hotel because he's not been hired in time to beat the quarantine, anything above getting relegated should probably be classed as a success. And Reading exceeded surely even the most optimistic of pre-season predictions. Veljko Paunovic Veljko Paunovic almost exclusively utilised a core group of players in a 4-2-3-1, only changing things when enforced. One of the consequences of that is that Reading had more players play over 3,000 minutes than any other side (roughly three-quarters of the season). That consistency is often seen as a good thing, but in a condensed season, it surely contributed to the injury woes. It can't have helped that the manager also used the second-fewest number of players over the course of the season. His substitutions were often categorised as late (Reading's subs played just 16 minutes on average, only Norwich's played fewer) or non-existent (Reading were 19t

Starting the Year Renew

Ah, 2023. A new year. A time to take stock of what you have, and look forward to the twelve months ahead. The first thing on Paul Ince's plate is to renew Andy Carroll and Amadou Mbengue's contracts - something he's been very vocal about wanting to do. Mbengue is a difficult one. Yes, he is undoubtedly an exciting prospect but this is a club with six other senior centre backs. He'd be useful cover elsewhere, namely at right back, but Kelvin Abrefa has also showed some promise in that position in his, albeit small, cameos so far. Ince has already said his preferred back three is Yiadom, Holmes, and Sarr. Mbengue could be first-choice backup on the right side of that three, but given Yiadom is captain and played more minutes than anyone outside of Ince and Hendrick, realistically he won't get much of a look in. Likewise TMc is probably ahead of him for Sarr's spot. Shifting Moore and Dann in the summer still leaves him in the same position - and that's before