Skip to main content

Reading 3-2 Wigan

Reading showed three moments of quality to overcome a combative Wigan side.

Wigan's first goal comes down to a lack of midfield presence. Ejaria gets pushed off the ball, Yiadom dives in, and all of a sudden Wigan overload the box. Powell's finish trickles in, but was perfectly placed inside the corner. I did think there was a foul on Blackett with no real advantage, his foot seemed to get trodden on. That being said he didn't really break a sweat getting back, which is also an issue for Wigan Goal #2. If we're being super critical Moore probably gets himself a little too deep - actually ending up right in front of Martinez - and Baker should probably be tracking Powell's run. At the end of the day, we were in a bad position from the moment we lost the ball.

The first piece of real (Royal?) quality came with John Swift standing over the ball in first half stoppage time. In the programme versus Rotherham there was a fairly lengthy piece that touched on his dead ball technique and it was nice to see that work is paying off. The keeper seems to be far too close to his near post, and takes another step when the ball's struck, and then can't get back across. It's a beautiful goal though.

Playing out from the back is always a fairly risky strategy. On the most part the quality of our five January loanees has meant that we've been fine, however on Saturday one of Martinez's attempted bowl outs was intercepted. Blackett was again out of position (not his fault) with no sense of urgency to get back (probably his fault). A scramble in the box somehow ended with a mishit overhead kick finding an unmarked Joe Garner at the back post. Queue an all too familiar feeling of disappointment.

It must be said that Martinez redeemed himself later on. A ball in behind Blackett was pulled across the six yard box, but somehow the goalie managed to get himself in front of Powell's redirection. It was like having Al-Habsi back. One mistake, five huge saves.

Mo Barrow has played 122 minutes in the last two matches and has been dreadful for 120 of them, but if he keeps popping up with vital goals then I will absolutely accept him being a liability. I did not even know that he could strike a ball that well. He managed to find a pocket of space, take a terrible first touch, and still strike from twenty-five yards right into the bottom corner. I know Paul Cook was frustrated at the fact that Baker stole the ball before it got back to the keeper, but it was a drop ball. Once it bounces it's in play, and he was perfectly entitled to go for it. Particularly as Wigan were clearly trying to slow the ball down, again. I've seen Reading concede a goal while a substitution was still being made, so I feel like we deserve this.

Yakou Meite's winner is the reason I go to watch football. I believe it to be the definition of 'scenes'. A beautiful ball in from Harriott found Meite unmarked to head home. The reason he was unmarked - a fairly obvious foul on Jonas Olsson  - is incidental. It's encouraging to see a good ball into the box; it's been so long since we've had a decent corner taker. I don't think it's the defender's fault they only have three goals between them.

One thing I can agree with Paul Cook about is the standard of officiating was dreadful. Blackett was fouled for the first Wigan goal, the freekick for Reading's first goal was soft, and to complete the full circle, Olsson was bundled over for the last goal of the game. The referee failed to put his stamp on the game, and let Wigan waste as much time as they wanted. When the whistle went you could bet there was a yellow shirt to kick the ball away.

I fully expect for Leeds to batter us, because in the last two games we haven't played well despite picking up results. I'm not sure what Gomes can really do tonight but we need to find a holding midfielder who can actually break up play, otherwise we'll be in real trouble. However, I am more confident that we can pick something up away at Stoke which is a nice feeling.


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