Skip to main content

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 further up the field, to save him from that pressure, and it's not like he did nothing. Just when you have a player the calibre of Swift it's disappointing to not fully utilise him.

With Joao out we need to decide which striker can fit into this new system, but I'm not sure that's Baldock. He works hard, but he's too lightweight. Puscas replaced him with half an hour left, and looked a better option. In most games this season he's played off the shoulder of the last defender, but this time he played a deeper role linking with the midfield. By no means a perfect replacement - he still seems unable to have both feet leave the ground at the same time - but better. I'd at least like to see him from the start, as long as he's up to it, at Millwall.

Meite was frustrating. Again, without Joao we need someone with an aerial presence to focus our long balls, because of that Meite won more aerial duels than any player on the pitch, and his ability to buy a foul is useful to get Swift and Adam on the ball in dangerous abilities. But his technical ability is lacking, and too often he makes the wrong decision. Too many shots from poor positions, and at one point he let the ball run out of play before he'd even controlled it. He's still only 23, and his workrate is excellent, but you're always left wanting more. Right now I'd keep him in the side, but if we can get Joao fit it may be different.

Forest's goal may have been from a corner that wasn't, after going out of play, and a handball, but to leave Ben Watson completely unmarked - especially when there are ten Reading players in the box - deserved to be punished. With the Forest players celebrating like they'd just won the league, Reading regrouped and, somehow, equalised. I actually thought that the ref was going to blow while we were busy passing the ball around the back, but eventually (quite quickly) the ball was with Obita on the left. His pinpoint cross showed the benefit of having... wingers? Putting it right onto the foot of Tobias Figueiredo, who deflected the ball into his own net. I'm still hoping that Obita can show something that justifies offering him a new contract. He's a great option at LB, but we already have a lot of cover there.

It's a solid result against fourth in the league, and it says a lot that we dominated many aspects of the game. Whether it will be the same at The City Ground is hard to tell. They'll no doubt be incredibly up for it given how this game finished, and they'll come into it off the back of a game with Luton, while we have a difficult trip to Millwall first.


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 …