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.


Popular posts from this blog

Scout Report: Brentford

It almost feels superfluous to write about a Brentford team who have already been covered so extensively. Famed for their player recruitment the core of their side is a young, attack-minded group of players who seemingly love to play together. They tend to play 4-3-3, with Watkins as the main striker, and Benrahma and Mbeumo attempting to find space to either side of him. The midfield three is given stability by Christian Norgaard in the holding role, while Dasilva and Jensen are free to push on. Even goalkeeper David Raya Martin is crucial to the team's attacking intent. His quick distribution reminiscent of Marcus Hahnemann bowling out to Bobby Convey to set the winger away. That said defensively the Spaniard can occasionally be caught out, infamously allowing Ryan Tafazolli to pass the ball from the halfway line into the Brentford net. That's not the only mistake he's made this year - a missed punch condemned Brentford to a loss at Kenilworth Road, and similarly lead to

Reading FC Season Review | 2020/2021

When your season starts with your manager having to watch your opening match from the hotel because he's not been hired in time to beat the quarantine, anything above getting relegated should probably be classed as a success. And Reading exceeded surely even the most optimistic of pre-season predictions. Veljko Paunovic Veljko Paunovic almost exclusively utilised a core group of players in a 4-2-3-1, only changing things when enforced. One of the consequences of that is that Reading had more players play over 3,000 minutes than any other side (roughly three-quarters of the season). That consistency is often seen as a good thing, but in a condensed season, it surely contributed to the injury woes. It can't have helped that the manager also used the second-fewest number of players over the course of the season. His substitutions were often categorised as late (Reading's subs played just 16 minutes on average, only Norwich's played fewer) or non-existent (Reading were 19t

Starting the Year Renew

Ah, 2023. A new year. A time to take stock of what you have, and look forward to the twelve months ahead. The first thing on Paul Ince's plate is to renew Andy Carroll and Amadou Mbengue's contracts - something he's been very vocal about wanting to do. Mbengue is a difficult one. Yes, he is undoubtedly an exciting prospect but this is a club with six other senior centre backs. He'd be useful cover elsewhere, namely at right back, but Kelvin Abrefa has also showed some promise in that position in his, albeit small, cameos so far. Ince has already said his preferred back three is Yiadom, Holmes, and Sarr. Mbengue could be first-choice backup on the right side of that three, but given Yiadom is captain and played more minutes than anyone outside of Ince and Hendrick, realistically he won't get much of a look in. Likewise TMc is probably ahead of him for Sarr's spot. Shifting Moore and Dann in the summer still leaves him in the same position - and that's before