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Reading 0-0 Aston Villa

While the game itself may not have been the talking point of Saturday's fixture, Reading battled to a good point against a disappointing Villa side.  On paper the visitors have a side to trouble the automatic places, from Croatia's first-choice goalkeeper Kalinić, to perennial Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham but their gameplan of pinging it up to the big man never really looked like paying off.

Admittedly they had chances - El Ghazi forced a decent save by Martinez, but Tammy Abraham nodded the follow up wide from 6 yards. He was racing to get there ahead of Blackett and Miazga but probably should have done better. Equally our new GK probably should have tried to tip it further wide but in the end no damage done. On another occasion the crossbar helped save him when Elphick beat him to the ball from a corner.

That said he more than redeemed himself when Abraham met a beautiful El Ghazi cross. You could argue he got slightly too much on it, which directed it closer to Martinez's glove, but his reactions were second to none. Blackett had the composure to steer the ball away from two onrushing Villa players before Moore cleared down field. That chance was actually quite similar to Reading's best at the end of the first half. Swift's free-kick was flicked toward goal by Oliveira, but Miazga at the back post didn't react quickly enough to get to the rebound.

Although there's a lot of valid criticism of referee Geoff Eltringham's performance I thought he got a few big decisions right. El Ghazi and Oliveira made it easy for him with pretty poor dives in the box, but I thought that Hutton used his strength when challenging Ejaria in the box. They were side-by-side, and Ejaria was looking for it.

Oliveira has been the recipient of a fair amount of praise in the two games he's played, but I'm personally yet to be fully convinced. He seems adept at linking up play, works hard, and has a decent shot on him. In contrast to Bodvarsson he seems the type of player to get the ball, go on a run, and try to finish. Nothing wrong with that, but it is frustrating when he turns into a player, or could pick out the easy ball. I do think that he probably 'fits the style' better and hopefully things start clicking when he gets a run of games and gets used to the division again. Bodvarsson is just going to have to put up with the fact that he got injured at precisely the wrong time.

In regards to Tyrone Mings at the time I didn't think it was deliberate. Watching it back, it's hard to tell. I don't buy into the argument that he's looked at Oliveira and made sure he stamps on him - it happens so quickly that I don't think he has the time to process all of that but I'm also not convinced that he's made his best effort to avoid him.

Overall - I'll take a point. We weren't at our best, and they weren't at theirs. I go into this weekend with a strange sense of optimism that we could actually get a result away at Hillsborough; which is nice. Fingers crossed that Oliveira can return sooner rather than later.


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