Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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.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 positional play were encouraging.Morrison played in the centre of defensive trio. When he was in possession McIntyre…

Reading 0-3 Wigan

Where do you start after an absolute drubbing?

Probably at the root problem, and that was Mark Bowen's tactics. Now, I have no particular issues with 4-4-2 as a system, but I think it's a horrible formation for our collection of players. The 4-1-4-1 works because the two unconvential wide men push up and in toward the striker to form an offensive three (in some way). In a 4-4-2 they have to act as more legitimate wingers, because the two up front are operating in the advanced space. So the decision to play Ejaria - not a particularly quick or direct player - on one wing, with Araruna - someone who has never been in position - is just terrible decision making. It, yet again, screams of Bowen's basic decision process. More attacking = no DM, more strikers.

Please don't get me started on the comment that everyone should know how to play it. You still have to pick the right players.


Not only that, but Wigan were able to play through the lines too easily. With Morsy, Willia…

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 …