Skip to main content

Reading 1-4 Swansea

Reading finished 2018 surprisingly well with a spirited defeat away at Millwall followed up with a good point at QPR, so it was only right that they kickstart 2019 with an abysmal loss at home to Swansea on New Year's Day for a third successive defeat at the Madejski.

Omar Richards, briefly heralded as one of the next great prospects from the academy, was found wanting on a number occasions and really could be seen to be at fault for all of the first half goals. For the first he never closed down the cross, which gave Naughton all the time in the world to pick out McBurnie. On the second he's not strong enough to really pressure Leroy Fer, and gives him a free header across goal. And he lets van der Hoorn ghost in at the back post to finish from a free kick.

In my mind Richards is not the left back in a back four, he has far too many defensive frailties. I could see him fitting in at wing back on a back five, but he also needs to trust himself more going forward. The first time I saw him attempt to beat a player was with a few minutes remaining. It's true he doesn't have a whole lot of cover from those in front of him, but it's really no excuse for switching off.

The penalty is an absolute comedy of errors in the build up. Swift gives the ball away in the middle of the park. Ilori successfully stalls Routledge, but Rinomhota decides to double up, rather than tracking the run of Celina so O'Shea is dragged out of position. Which then frees up McBurnie for a simple finish, but thankfully Richards is alert enough to cover. And to be fair to the left back he made up some ground to get himself back, which was really good to see given the first half. It's then a simple throw into the feet of Routledge, who manages to roll Yiadom who drags him down to the ground. Boom - 4-0.

McBurnie up front absolutely ran the Reading defence ragged, and Ilori in particular couldn't handle him. He must love playing against us; 4 goals in 2 games is not a bad return. He was basically everything that Meite, up the other end, struggled to be.

There were a couple of positives, notably Rinomhota again impressing - the scouting system has worked absolutely perfectly there considering as he hasn't really come through our academy at all. As well as Callum Harriott finally getting game time after two years out. Curse that Foggy Fulham Fixture.

I actually thought that we looked okay going forward - Gomes clearly rates Swift, and he's starting to pull the strings, but we need a final pass. Aluko looked okay - I do think he'll end up being a 'Gomes type' player. Strong technically, with the ability to spring a counter-attack. Which is where McCleary and Barrow come in too. Unfortunately they couldn't unpick the Swansea defence - but it really is just that final ball that's missing. Captain McCleary in particular had a disappointing game, but it wasn't long ago that he was the only positive so hopefully it's just a slight dip in form.

I thought that in the first half when we harried Swansea with a high press they started making mistakes and really came under some pressure, the only issue was that every chance they got down the other end they took.

Obviously it was dreadful, but we have to write it off and go again next weekend. We're playing Manchester United at totally the wrong time, but it's almost a free pass for Gomes to try things. Fingers crossed we don't get hammered too badly.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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

The Big Man Cometh

In the grand scheme of things, I consider myself a bit of an Andy Carroll sceptic. Reading have a penchant for signing players that spend the majority of their time in the physio room, and Carroll aligns with that transfer policy to a tee. It must be said that given the lack of other options, and a short term deal that has no real risk for the club, there isn't any big downside in gambling on the Geordie. With that being said, even I was calling out for the introduction for The Big Man at half-time on Saturday. Reading had a heap of possession just outside the box in the opening forty-five but couldn't translate that into chances. Drinkwater had a tame shot saved after good work from Yiadom, but the best chance of the half fell to Puscas after a fortuitous deflection off a Forest player. The flag went up for offside but it didn't matter as the striker couldn't convert anyway. Both managers had done a fairly good job at negating the other side's strengths. Forest'

"We’ve never been so flat"

There have been some abysmal Reading performances this season, I don't really need to list them out. But in that dirge, there are two performances that I haven't fully come to terms with my feelings on. The visits of Sheffield United and Luton to The SCL are a clash between feeling like the concept behind the tactics was  reasonable and the implementation clearly not working. But there's one issue with my reading of the game; Veljko himself wasn't happy with either performance. In fact, he used the exact same word to label both - 'flat'. Reading's three in midfield meant they could cover SU attacking midfielders and wing backs And yet, the set-ups for both seem to perfectly explain why the team may be flat. Against The Blades they switched to a 4-3-2-1, with Ejaria dropping deeper to form the three alongside Drinkwater and Laurent. That trio were effectively tasked with stopping McGoldrick and Gibbs-White from being able to come central. On Wednesday we may