Skip to main content

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Reading

 A game that will be immortalised as Alex Morgan's WSL debut offered little else in the way of entertainment. Spurs sit second bottom after securing their second point, the second previously-winless team to take points off The Royals in the last three matches.

Neville pushes up to watch Carter, and Fishlock takes her completely out of the play.

Reading went a goal up after less than fifteen minutes. Ashleigh Neville pushed up onto Carter, leaving space for the ball behind which Fishlock executed to perfection. All Mitchell had to do was pick out a Reading shirt. With Eikeland's run to the near post opening space for Chaplen behind her, the latter had a free header from five yards out.

Eikeland somehow completely misses the ball, and James wasn't arriving quick enough to give herself a decent chance.

They could have been ahead even earlier. Mitchell's ball into the channel found Chaplen, and somehow Eikeland missed her ball across. James, coming in at the back post, just fired wide from a hard angle. Late on they had another excellent chance as James played in Lily Woodham, getting her first league minutes of the season, but the youngster could only shoot straight at the keeper.

Reading stand off Tottenham. The LB tries to find the run, but could just have easily slid the second striker.

Tottenham, meanwhile, managed to find space in front of the Reading defence, but very rarely behind it. Their full-backs, in particular, found a lot of space for crosses, created by Reading's narrow 4-3-3 (or 4-1-2-1-2). They scored with their only real chance, brought about by a trio of headers from a corner. Harding is outjumped at the back post, Rianna Dean is allowed a free header under the second ball which she directed toward goal, and Neville - making up for her mistake - stole in front of Moloney to flick over her.

On the whole, Reading were frustrated by their own sloppiness. Often trying to force playing forward when there were easier options. Yet again, the decision to try balls over the top really didn't bring about much joy, with Harrop easily dealing with most. They had joy in the channels but was often wasted by the final ball. For a side that got into 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 positions more than once, they need to be more clinical in the final third.

Eikeland makes a run beyond the defence, who step up and box in Carter.

Carter and Eikeland haven't really formed the relationship needed to be successful. Best summed up by two moments on the break. Just before half time, Reading managed to burst upfield after a Spurs free-kick. Fishlock's ball to Carter was a little behind her, but she needed to beat the player and pull back to Eikeland. Instead, she scuffed a shot wide from 20 yards. In the second half, Carter used her strength to win the ball as Eikeland made a run through the middle. It was a hard pass to play, and Eikeland could have gone wider allowing Carter a 1-on-1 with the defender, but ultimately she ran offside and Carter cut into four Spurs players. 

Eikeland's cross is behind everyone

That's the usual dynamic - Carter dropping a little deeper, and Eikeland making the runs. But Eikeland wasn't faultless either. A couple of times getting into the right channel before failing to find a cross. Over the course of the season, she miscontrols the ball more than any other (4.5 p90) and has the worst successful dribble % on the team (28.6%). It scuppers moves before they can really unfold.

Admittedly, Eikeland was playing as the second striker, rather than just behind them, for basically the first time this year. But in the 937 combined minutes, the two have played in the league, they've scored just three times. Worse, watching the body language, they both seem annoyed by the other's lack of end product. 

Although James is probably right to press here, she approaches from too straight and allows an easy pass to the wing.

It was the same defensively. The side seem to flourish in chaos, with their swarm-like approach paying dividends, but too often the press is disjointed and easy to play around. There were numerous occasions of Spurs easily playing out from the back because of individual players looking to steal in, and those players then being out of position. Thankfully, Spurs were never able to capitalise on their overloads.

To follow up a good, if lucky, point against City with this profligate display is disappointing. Everton have cooled after a run that saw them win their first four league games, and make it to the FA Cup Final but will still be far tougher.

Comments

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. The 3-6-1. Swift and Laurent are allowed to go forward but are usually content with being behind the play. 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 positio

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. Swift gets turned, Pelé has to come across, Araruna lets Roberts run (not even sure

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