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Reading 1-2 Blackburn

After a decent start to the season (first two weeks aside) Reading now find themselves in an all too familiar position, after three successive defeats. The positive being that we are, at least, creating chances. Yet again, the issues were at the other end of the pitch.

The first goal is a phenomenal strike - no doubt about it. The thing that worries all Reading fans is how much time Armstrong had to pick his spot. Obita being caught upfield is par for the course in the way that Gomes wants us to play, but it meant McIntyre needed to come across to cover. Pelé then doubles up on the winger - but neither of them block the cut back. When playing three centre backs it feels like it should be unnecessary for Yiadom to be in the six yard box defending a cross - and that meant that nobody even noticed Armstrong at the back post. Yiadom and Swift are both at fault for not closing him down quicker when he does pick up the ball but Rafael had no chance.

Times change, but Reading conceding soft goals just after half time is eternal. Again, it comes from Blackburn finding space on the flanks before a fairly tame cross into the box. This time Pelé is in a better position to block a cut back but as Gallagher rolls it across the box Blackburn's runners cause chaos. I do think that McIntyre is probably fouled in the build up - Dack grabs his shirt which is why he eventually goes down but it should never have got that far. The deflection takes Rafael out of it again.

One of the key problems with both goals seems to be the lack of cover when a team breaks forward in numbers. Swift and Ejaria both try to work back but they're often pushed right up the field because of the system. I'm not convinced yet that Pelé suits that holding role. So far he's not shown himself to be adept at breaking up play - and killing those counter attacks that seem to be costing us.

John Swift has come in for criticism - some of it justified, but a lot of it isn't. He had a dire first half, as Blackburn harried him, but he managed to readjust and become much more influential after the break. He still played more key passes than anybody from either side, and he took his goal well. It was his spot-on free-kick at the end of the game that Moore could only guide into the keeper's arms.

When signing Joao many Sheffield Wednesday fans said that on his day he was one of the best strikers in the league, but that that day didn't come nearly often enough. I think we've seen that over the last few weeks. Against us, in the first game of the season he was strong, held the ball up well, and scored a decent goal. He was good again against Cardiff - as we saw a glimpse of what the team as a whole is capable of. The issue is that in the last few games he's been poor. The ball bouncing off him too easily, and often being too selfish in his play leading to losing possession.

Not that Joao is the only culprit - far too many players were totally anonymous. Puscas' one fierce shot, from a similar position to his first goal against Cardiff, was the wrong option on this occasion. He needs to look to pull it back there when it's on his right foot. At the very least he needs to hit the target. As I said, the back three can probably feel a little annoyed not to get more help from the wing backs, or Pelé in front of them - although in truth none of the defensive unit, bar Rafael, covered themselves in glory.

Final point - it's great to see Obita back. On the rare occasion the ball did get out to his flank he looked sharp. Richards looked decent so far this season, but it's always better to have competition for places - and now Gomes has seen both of them hopefully they'll both kick on. Maybe he'll push Richards further forward again now we have another legitimate left back.

Difficult set of games coming up with Wolves in the Cup followed by Swansea and Fulham. If we play to our potential we can cause problems in all three, but we'll have to be better than we've shown recently.


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