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Showing posts from January, 2020

Reading 0-1 Bristol City

There's very few things in life that are certain, but Reading fans experiencing disappointment is perennial. To be fair, Bristol City came into the game on a decent run of form - in their last four outings they beat the bottom three, but got smashed at home to Brentford.

It was an even first half. Bristol clearly watched the game against Millwall, because they set up in a very familiar way. Attempting to cut off all passing lanes out of defence, and force Reading to go long. With the midfield selected we did actually manage to play out on occasion, but Bristol managed to regroup and sit rigidly behind the ball. Too often the ball would get to the edge of the box only for the attack to break down. Obita in particular had a poor half, failing to put any dangerous crosses in, although it's hard when you only have Puscas to aim for - all the midfielders more content to sit just outside the area. Other times the defence would panic at clear the ball without really thinking, and to …

Tactics vs Nottingham Forest (A)

At some point I will be able to stop writing these as Bowen will settle on a defined system.

Admittedly the shape is now pretty set, but due to a myriad of reasons the personnel had to change everywhere but the defence. Ejaria moved central to be the most advanced of the midfield three, Obita took his place over on the left, and Olise came in for Meite on the right. Up front Baldock dropped to the bench in favour of Puscas.

After a lacklustre defeat at Millwall it was notable the increase in tempo early on, and Reading pressed much higher up the pitch than in the home game. John Swift played the role vacated by Adam, dropping deep to pick up the ball and attempt to start attacks. He ended up between the CBs at times, very akin to Liam Kelly. He wasn't as immediate to play forward passes as Adam would have been, but he bided his time before finding an opening. Either pinging balls about, or when there were no options he was able to beat a man or three. In fact he completed the same…

Tactics vs Millwall (A)

The Den. Two in form teams. A tactically astute (read: well drilled) Millwall team get the better of a lacklustre Royals side.

Critically, in the first half, Millwall stopped Reading from playing out from the back. They were happy to let the central defenders have the ball, as long as they played sideways, but when Blackett or Gunter picked up the ball they would be immediately closed down. Pelé had to drop deep to pick the ball up, and again the moment he looked to go forward Bradshaw initiated The Press, forcing him sideways. The 4-4-2 was an incredibly effective counter against our 4-2-3-1, as the home side were happy to let Charlie Adam drift around the pitch safe in the knowledge that he didn't really have the energy to hurt them.



Jed Wallace and Mahlon Romeo down their right had no difficulty in containing Reading's creative outlets on that side. Wallace would make it difficult for Blackett to pick up the ball - often only having possession when Rafael looked to counter …

Tactics vs Nottingham Forest (H)

Reading lined up against Forest in the now familiar 4-2-3-1 that Bowen has been using for the last few matches. The only change being that Baldock came in for Joao due to injury.


Both teams were happy for the opposition to have the ball in their own defensive third. At some points Reading dropped off almost to the halfway line - which allowed them to overload the middle third and cut off passing lanes. With the ball at the back both sides found it difficult to play through the midfield, ending up hitting speculative long balls, or having passes intercepted trying to force the play.


When a side does find a way through the plan becomes to force a shot from as far out as possible by keeping bodies behind the ball. And if all that fails then someone was always there to throw their body in front of a shot. Adam and Swift both made last ditch tackles which saved almost certain goals. Pelé in particular was crucial to the defensive efforts throughout. His remit seemed to be to stop Tiago Sil…

Replacing Charlie Adam

As I've said in my post about the transfer window, I'd be looking to bring in a replacement for Charlie Adam this month. That would allow whoever came in to learn from Adam over the course of the next six months - or longer, if his contract is extended - and give us cover in a position where we're light.

So the most important question: How does Charlie Adam fit into this Reading side?

It's actually a difficult question to answer. His cameo against Birmingham late on set the tone for his first few appearances. A lot of pinpoint long balls, playing almost as a quarter-back. His role slightly changed against Preston and Fulham, presumably where we were expecting to see less of the ball. Then against Forest he was in the ten role, where he was trying to unlock the defence, but not necessarily playing Hollywood balls. The one constant is he is always trying to progress the ball.

Obviously he's also a danger at set pieces, but we have so many in the squad that are decent…

Reading 1-1 Nottingham Forest

A game that should have ended 0-0 somehow ended up at 1-1, and sets up a rather tasty match in the reverse fixture next Wednesday.

Both sides had some decent chances. A John Swift cross early on only needed a touch that never arrived, Meite drew a save from a tight angle, and Blackett hit the post. At the other end Grabban lacked his normal goalscoring touch (although, possibly usual for the Madejski) as he volleyed over from the penalty spot, and then Rafael managed to push him wide enough when clean through on goal to stop any real chance.
Charlie Adam has been an important cog in Reading's machine recently, but pushing him into the ten role did somewhat hamper us. A couple of times he went for a shot when he could have picked someone in a better position, we failed to switch play as regularly, and Swift struggled in the deeper role. In the first half that was mainly because Forest pressed high, Pelé was caught a couple of times too. I would hope that the press was why Adam was…

The January 2020 Transfer Window Team Report

The window's open; every club in the country's looking to strengthen, but is there anywhere in particular that needs the attention of Kia Joorabchian Mark Bowen?

Player (Age | Contract Expiry)

Goalkeeper
Rafael (29 | 2022) // Sam Walker (28 | 2021) // (Vito Mannone (31 | 2020))
Hopefully we won't need any cover in goal, Rafael solidified himself as the clear first choice - and his performances earned him a player of the month nomination for December. There are some question marks over Sam Walker, but there seems to be no indication that he'll move this month. He was highly rated at Colchester, and now we're less focused on playing out from the back (Rafael's distribution is hardly flawless) hopefully he'll be able to focus on shot stopping. Virginia may have left, but Vito Mannone is back from his loan at Minnesota. It's still almost certain we've seen the last of him - even if he doesn't move on this window, he's out of contract in summer.
So…