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Showing posts from September, 2020

Reading 2-0 Barnsley

Reading nicked a win, but Barnsley caused real problems last year with their high press. Barnsley cut out the ball into central midfield, and aggressive positioning allows them to press the moment the ball Rafael passes. The Tykes packed the centre to make it to force Reading's play wide. The press started almost immediately when Rafael distributed the ball, but was most noticeable when the ball went wide. It either won them the ball - Ejaria was dispossessed eight times - or forced a backwards pass. On more than one occasion the aggression shown resulted in Reading free-kicks. Like the Luton match, the double pivot didn't attempt to drop into space, as we saw them do on opening day, and found themselves out of the game. Barnsley's three across the front made it impossible to play into them which meant they were largely passengers. A common sight in the second half - the three midfielders being on separate levels. Olise would effectively shuttle between Rinomhota and Swift

Reading 0-1 Luton

When you rotate the entire squad, you can't expect to win games, and I doubt Paunović will be too disappointed about going out of the cup early.  The youth players were a mixed bag. The centre backs showed that we need not look for incomings to be happy with our defensive depth, but Bristow on the left seems to need more time to develop. Tetek was composed on the ball and probably did enough to earn a spot on the bench at points this season, but Watson, played out of position, failed to capitalise on his chance. The blur that is Tom Holmes takes a first touch around the onrushing LuaLua, and then spreads play to the now unmarked Felipe Araruna. In fact, we should put Tom Holmes in the spotlight, because he played fantastically . He won all nine duels he was involved in (five ground, four aerial), didn't commit a foul, made 92% of passes including 10/12 long balls, and even put Danny Hylton on his backside with his first touch. McIntyre is rightfully considered a real prospect,

Reading 3-1 Aston Villa

Reading put last weekend's hammering at the hands of Arsenal behind them with a win against newly promoted Aston Villa. Reading kept the 4-3-3 that they adopted in the second half against The Gunners (although it could be described as a 4-3-1-2 if you were being particularly pedantic). Fara Williams conducted play from the base of midfield, while Fishlock and James played just advanced of her. After a difficult match last out for Fishlock, she looked much more assured with what she was asked to do on Sunday. She made more successful pressures than anybody on the pitch, despite being Reading's only substitution after 73 minutes, and consistently moved the ball forward after winning it back. Carter pulls out wide, and Eikeland runs into the space left Carter was again bright. Good with the ball at her feet, her main issue is occasional tunnel vision. It was her skill that won Reading the penalty for their third. Eikeland seems tireless, and can carry the ball into space well but

Derby 0-2 Reading

I'd almost entirely forgotten what winning feels like, but the gift from God that is Veljko Paunovic has bestowed it upon us once again. Although, to be serious, beating a Derby side that only mustered one shot on target against Barrow could certainly prove to be a false dawn. Paunovic's first team selection brought no shocks and calmed some fears about last weekend's Colchester XI. Like Bowen he decided on a double pivot of Laurent and Rinomhota, with Swift flanked by Ejaria on the left and Olise on the right in front of them. Yiadom made a welcome return to the team after six months, alongside Joao who missed all but forty minutes of the restart. After a lot of talk around who would take the captain's armband, Moore may have been saved by the change of manager. You're already seeing Twitter change their take on the old-and-now-new Captain - he's been much better in these matches he's hardly been troubled in. (To be fair, the problem was the backlash to his

If He Stays Fit

Lucas Joao has been a crucial part of this side for the better part of a year now. His stock seemingly rises every match, whether he plays or not. Every Joao related take is notably prefaced with "If he stays fit". The problem is, judging by history, that's a completely unrealistic expectation. He's never completed 2,000 league minutes in a season in his professional career - which itself would be under half the number of minutes in a Championship campaign. So then there is the natural desire to sign a Joao replacement, particularly after the issues last season without him in the side. Pedro Mendes has been touted as the missing piece, and one Serbian account even suggested Ivan Saponjic, a player in Paunović's U20 Serbian side, as someone with a similar style. In Mendes' case, are we really going to spend £5m on a player who won't be the first choice?  If we do end up signing a replacement, what happens to George Puscas? He did enough last season to be

Arsenal 6-1 Reading

You've had an extended break since last year's football, pre-season squad building went well, then you come up against Arsenal. Reading were outclassed in almost every aspect. The narrow diamond allowed space out wide that was ruthlessly exploited by Arsenal, and their sloppiness on the ball hampered their attacking output. Leah Williamson in too much space to cross, Leine misses her chance to clear by not getting off the ground Both came together for the opening goal, as Kristine Leine's poor pass was intercepted. Jess Fishlock, the new OL Reign loanee, didn't close down quickly enough and Leah Williamson capitalised on the space by chipping the ball perfectly into Kim Little's path. Leine missed her head, and chance to amend, and Little's volley was exquisitely put past Grace Maloney. Arsenal attackers looked to exploit Reading full-backs high starting positions and managed that perfectly for their second goal. And that was really the story of the match - Read

Reading 3-1 Colchester

What can one glean from a glorified pre-season friendly? Well, we have certainly adopted Paunovic's preferred 4-2-3-1. We've already seen the new manager's interesting selections, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt to allow him to see more of the squad (wouldn't it have been amazing if he'd had pre-season to do that?). But I can't see anybody being in his team selection for Derby that wouldn't have already been there. The one player who probably does deserve an inclusion is Araruna, but it'll be very difficult to displace Yiadom when fit. He'll be disappointed about the goal though, being outpaced on the overlap - although those in the middle didn't help him out too much. The other full-back, Ethan Bristow had one good burst down the left-wing, but on the whole, doesn't look ready for this standard of football. It was noticeable they got in behind the LB on several occasions. The Reading defence defending to the left whi