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.

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