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Showing posts from February, 2020

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…

Leeds 1-0 Reading

Reading failed to snatch any points from their second trip to Yorkshire in a week, but losing by a goal against a team in the automatic places is respectable.

Bowen stuck with the tried and tested 4-1-4-1, but with the twist of pushing Rinomhota further forward to man-mark Kalvin Phillips. Pelé came straight back into the starting eleven, even given the success of The Swift Experiment the week prior.


Reading's defensive shape was interesting. Reading tried to force Leeds to play through the middle of the pitch. Olise tried to cut off the pass to Costa, while Meite did the same on the right against Harrison. Then Pelé and Swift sat slightly deeper in the middle. Often picking up Klich and Hernández, but allowing the defence to take over responsibility if they attempted to run in behind and instead screened the passes.

A key part of Reading's first half was their ability to run with the ball. It allowed them to play out from the back and beat the Leeds press. Overall they comple…

Sheffield Wednesday 0-3 Reading

Reading managed a first win since New Year's Day, but the scoreline flattered The Royals.

We kept the 4-1-4-1, but with Pelé and Obita injured personnel were rotated. Ejaria found himself back on the left-wing, with Swift as the man between the two banks of four. Olise and Rinomhota were partnered together in central midfield for the first time. At times it resembled a 4-2-3-1, or even a 4-3-3, with the two wide players in particular getting forward to support

The first thing that springs out at you when looking over the stats for the match is just how even it seemed to be. Sheffield Wednesday shaded possession (50.5 - 49.5) and shots (10-9); meanwhile Reading were victors in terms of touches (572-549), and were just ahead in terms of total passes (375-372). It's only when you delve deeper into that stat twitter loves so much - expected goals - that the story becomes clearer. Sheffield Wednesday managing just 0.49, whereas Reading blazed ahead with 1.87.

That still doesn't…

Reading 1-2 WBA

Sometimes teams are just better. And that was certainly part of the reason for the loss midweek, the other side of the coin is that Reading made too many basic mistakes that allowed the league leaders to capitalise.


Reading were always going to look better in the game against Hull. The Baggies attack more, which allowed Reading more space to play into, and defensively we've often been set up to soak up pressure from more aggressive sides. Even in this game though there were times when it was still difficult for Reading to get the ball forward.

It's good to see Puscas get a goal, even if it's from the penalty spot. On the whole, he had an alright game. A chance late on went begging when he didn't make a good connection, but there are signs that he's getting used the league a bit more. The penalty arose from Bartley inexplicably punching the ball, but there was somesetup. Swift actually played the exact same ball in for the previous corner too, with slightly differen…

Reading 1-1 Hull

Hull took a deserved point from the Madejski in a horrendously poor game. Reading retained the 5-3-2, with Blackett coming in for McIntyre.

I'd like to start with an aside. BBC Berkshire have absolutely no idea what they're talking about and it winds me up no end. Not only were they incredibly disrespectful to a Hull side they have no idea about, but they also predicted us to score four times. I haven't seen anything to suggest we can score twice without Joao. If you want the tl;dr of this article it's basically that a very well drilled (cliché, but true) came to Reading with a gameplan and executed it almost flawlessly with the help of a subpar performance from the home side.


The difference to recent weeks is that it was Hull, rather than Bowen's team, who were more than happy to sit behind the ball and look to counter. Which meant that Reading had much more of the ball than they're used to - almost 60%, but they failed to really create chances. One of the sig…

Cardiff 1-1 Reading

I'm bored of playing Cardiff. I'm bored of drawing games. And I'm slightly bored of our defensive shape.

Bowen returned to the 5-3-2 (5-1-2-2) that Gomes pioneered earlier in the season. In Bowen's first few games he tweaked the system so Swift and the wingbacks sat deeper, while Ejaria was the main attacking outlet. On Friday night we had reverted to how Gomes set the team up. Ejaria and Swift in front of Pelé, and the wing-backs pushing higher when in possession to create a 3-1-4-2.


There always seemed to be a huge gap between Baldock and Meite up top and the rest of the team. When Pelé won the ball he often would look for the ball in behind for Baldock to run on to. Which rarely worked, and meant that the ball often came straight back. The low block has caused us to be far better defensively. Under Gomes, we conceded 17 goals in 11 games (2 clean sheets), that's down to 17 goals in 19 games (6 clean sheets). The issue is that when we turn it over, we really have…