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Showing posts from April, 2019

Norwich City 2-2 Reading

Given the weekend's capitulation against Hull a midweek trip to the top of the league could be seen as another potential stumbling block on Reading's road to safety. As it happened, it was another sign of the progress being made under The Best Manager in World Football, José Gomes. As an early aside, the man's never even made it to two years in the main role so I'm going to be gutted when he inevitably leaves.

Even pre-match it was fairly obvious that The Royals weren't going to throw the kitchen sink in search of three points. A back five, complete with Chris Gunter, were protected by three in midfield - Baker, Rinomhota, and Ejaria. Méité and Barrow continue their partnership given that Oliveira was, as Football Manager would say, ineligible.

Midway through the first period, and definitely against the run of play, Barrow raced onto a loose pass. Under Clement not a lot would have come of the situation, but Gomes' Barrow knocked the ball past the defender, and…

Reading 2-1 Preston

Preston came into the away game at the Madejski on a well-reported run of six straight away wins. Less reported was that none of their opponents - QPR, Stoke, Bolton, Millwall, Blackburn, and Middlesbrough - were in particularly good form; nor that their last league defeat was actually to 22nd place Rotherham on New Year's Day. It was, nevertheless, a little surprising that they were so poor.

Rinomhota's return to the team added some much needed stability in midfield, Ejaria recovered from his groin strain, and there was a further boost to see Nélson Oliveira's name, inexplicably, on the bench. Barrow started up front, with Méité reprising his now familiar role out wide.

In the first half Reading were outstanding. Every time they won the ball back they looked for a pass in behind. Barrow has played up front a few times since Gomes came in and it seems like we've finally learnt how to play the system. He had the beating of the defence on every occasion, and was key to b…