Skip to main content

Reading 0-1 Bolton

There is a chance that when the season ends, and Bolton have been promoted, that this result won't look so bad. However, given that we are only four games since they narrowly avoided relegation, and in that time their players have been on strike I'm going to count it as A Bad Loss.

With no fit wingers it was always going to be a challenge to guess the side. John Swift ended up on the left wing, with Meite being fit enough to take part on the opposite flank. Presumably the thinking was that against two big centre backs the pace and skill of Baldock and McNulty should have trumped Bodvarsson.

Clement likes his wing players to drift inside and contribute in the centre of the pitch too, which I presume was why he felt comfortable putting Swift out wide, but the problem was that he was dragged into the middle too easily. You need to pull them out wide so that you can then exploit the space in the middle - space that never materialises when all your attacks go through one area go begin with. It also puts pressure on Blackett at left back, because all of a sudden he's dealing with a 2-on-1 when they manage to break.

I've tried to scrub most of the game from my mind, but what I do remember is that Bolton are unlucky to only win by one. Easily the best chance of the first half was when Magennis rolled McShane and squared to Will Buckley, only for him to shoot tamely at Mannone.

Buckley was replaced by Wildschut at the beginning of the second half, and when the Dutchman was set through unfortunately he did not make the same mistake as the man he came on for. McShane failed to track the run, and didn't put up much of a fight to get back. The decision to drop Ilori  over the captain provided much consternation, and he has been one of the better players in the handful of games before this - but it's not as if he hasn't also made mistakes. Letting Grabban clean through on goal at the City Ground, or giving away a dangerous free-kick against Birmingham. I do think he'll get a chance soon after this though.

Yes, Reading had chances. Swift had another good free kick - that again the keeper made a bit of a meal of, and Meite went through on goal but he was always under pressure. Elsewhere on the pitch McNulty looked lively without ever really troubling the defence, and Kelly had another poor game.  The side occasionally seems fractured between those who still have Stam's keep ball ingrained, and those trying to make runs in behind. Put the ball in behind! The worst thing that happens is we get up the pitch.

Can I see us getting a point at Blackburn? Not off the back of that performance. Can I see us getting a point at Villa Park? No. Can I see us getting anything from Sheffield Wednesday after getting thumped at home to Watford? Unlikely.

I guess it's time to pray.


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