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Showing posts from August, 2020

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 …

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…

Back to the Future

Pre-season is on us again, and so is attempting to second guess everything about the team via grainy videos posted by players on Twitter. The most interesting being this tweet from Olise.nice to be back! pic.twitter.com/aQQJUhhk9m— MIchaelOlise (@MichaelOlise10) August 16, 2020
It's a nice flowing move (let's not talk about the defending) but most important is the setup; Pretty clearly a 5-3-2 (or a 3-4-1-2, or a 5-2-1-2 - whatever you want to call it). I'm not going to attempt to get into Mark Bowen's head - but this effectively means ripping up half a season's work and going back to the formation that he first used when taking over from José Gomes. I'm not angry about that, although certainly confused.
To nobody's surprise, back in October, he attempted to make the system slightly more defensive, bringing one of the more advanced central midfielders (Swift) back to make a double pivot, and not allowing the wing-backs to bomb forward quite so much - although…

Summer 2020 Team Report

Following on from the report in January, here's what we think of the makeup of the team going into the new season.

Player (Age | Contract Expiry)
GoalkeeperRafael (30 | 2022) // Sam Walker (28 | 2021) // Luke Southwood (22 | 2021)
Rafael first choice. Southwood potentially moving up to second. Walker still around, or Boye-Clarke if he goes. Stacked. DefenceRightAndy Yiadom (28 | 2022) // Tennai Watson (23 | 2021)

Yiadom is unquestionably the starter, and an instrumental part of Reading going both ways. His injury record this season meaning he missed 21 matches has to be a worry. Hopefully, the extended rest period gives him more time to get back to full fitness for next season, but without him there's not a lot of depth. Tennai Watson, who's already 23 and only had two fairly uninspiring loan spells in League One, is our sole back-up. Watson only has 2,100 league minutes in his career so far, and is unlikely to add many this season if Yids stays fit. I did think he looked good …