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Reading 0-0 Huddersfield Town

Back down to Earth with a bump. It's one thing to draw a match, it's another to feel like you don't necessarily deserve to. Thankfully, Huddersfield didn't really do enough to win so I guess it evens itself out.

Blackett wants to make the blue run, expects Obita to cut inside. Obita runs wide and Blackett takes himself out of play by running into the same space

Obviously, Bowen made a curious team selection - which is amazing when only changing one player. Playing Jordan Obita completely changes the dynamic of the left-hand side. He hugs wide to the touchline and looks to cross. Of the five he attempted, he completed just one. Meite may be a good aerial threat on the right, against smaller full-backs, but centre backs tend to have a couple of inches on him. Ejaria, meanwhile, came inside and allowed Blackett to give the width. There were a few times when Blackett just didn't know whether to make the outside or inside run and ended up doing nothing.

So, if Obita was the wrong choice who was the correct one? Well, potentially Michael Olise. Although he does seem more comfortable coming inside onto his stronger foot from the right. So maybe starting Lucas Boyé wouldn't have been such a bad idea. I'm still firmly in the 'don't sign him permanently' camp, but given we have nothing to play for, why not give the Argentine a run-out? He's had a tough time here and probably deserves a little reward.

Pelé rolls the ball into Puscas. The forward holds off two challenges but has no real support and ends up going backwards. Pelé could have offered for the ball back down the line.

And when the left side doesn't fire it's difficult to direct too much criticism at Meite or Puscas. This is a problem that goes back to Millwall in January. On that day at The Den Millwall stopped us playing down the left, and the game plan disintegrated. Midweek it was our team selection that achieved the same result. And, in fact, neither were that bad. I thought Puscas played pretty well, but it's not his fault he's got no support. Think he was unlucky to get subbed rather than a straight Meite/Olise swap, but heaven forbid we play without Yakou.

I've done this to death by now so won't bore you any more with it other than this is a manager who keeps harping on about how high up we're attempting to finish in the table, but we're playing 4-1-4-1 (and a true 4-1-4-1, with two flat banks of four) at home to Huddersfield with less than 40% possession. I cannot imagine that when fans do come back they'll be too happy with that sort of football.

Highlighting the good - Pelé commits Mounié and ESR before shifting the ball to Morrison.


Pelé, who had been singled out for praise on BBCRB, wasn't actually that good. He was dribbled past four times, more than any other game this season. Part of that is because Emile Smith Rowe is really good, and that's completely understandable, but he's on the pitch to negate the player between the lines and he didn't do that. On the whole, he was better in possession. He has a tendency to take one touch and then either attempt a pass or drive into space. He's good at committing a player and then shifting the ball; the problem is that too often his more progressive balls on the counter tend to fail and put pressure straight back on the team.

Blackett tries to get to the ball before Lossl. Admittedly Blackett doesn't feel like the usual target, so maybe this was meant back post? Maybe we were trying to find Meite at the front post? I have no idea. Willock left Pelé late, but look how much space he's in. A lot. A lot of space.

The corner routine was interesting (or, I guess you could say, bad). Reading had four. We ran slightly different routines each time, but the ball in was the same - each giving Lossl catching practice. I think the third (not pictured because that would be too easy) gave the best idea of what Reading were trying to do - stealing in front of Lossl before he could get there, but all were overhit and I may be being generous with my interpretation. Huddersfield did pretty well at allowing the keeper to come to meet the ball by holding off Reading players, and they set up decent counters too. So for the fourth Reading mixed it up, by working a horrendous short corner routine that led to John Swift under hitting a backpass and almost allowing Huddersfield in to score. So maybe just stick with plan A.

Personally, and I know this will be coming across, I hate this football. It is depressing, defensive play. It's not even particularly effective. Let's put this in perspective - Huddersfield played Luton after this match and lost 2-0. We had two shots on target in ninety minutes - and one of those was a speculative hit with the last kick of the game. We'll probably hammer Charlton now, but as we've already seen, that doesn't really mean much.

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