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Showing posts from April, 2021

Reading 0-5 West Ham

 Reading won many plaudits after the game away at Manchester City, but realistically could have been on the end of a similar scoreline had it not been for some wayward finishing by The Sky Blues.  West Ham cut off options, Fishlock is forced to try a difficult pass out to Woodham on the left (out of shot) and turns the ball over The Royals have attempted to play out from goal kicks pretty much all year, and Moloney tapping to Fishlock has been used on many an occasion. It's worked before - the team scored against Bristol after a similar move - but it does come with risk associated. There didn't seem to be many options out from the box, and the midfielder's pass was cut out. The ball ended up at the feet of Kenza Dali, with Deanna Cooper standing off her rather than engaging. Still, The Hammers benefitted from a healthy slice of luck as her cross (as it patently was) ended up lobbing Moloney and sneaking in at the back post. Reading have seven players over, and two by the fr

Luton Town 0-0 Reading

Without trying to put too fine a point on things, Reading were abysmal. When emotions are involved, things can seem much worse than they are, but 'at this stage of the season' results are more important than performances, and to barely trouble Sluga is not good enough. Olise didn't look his normal self, nor did Meite. Puscas didn't really find his rhythm either. Pressing from the front almost rewarded the away side As with Cardiff, I think the lack of effort is overstated (mostly). The clearest example of this is Reading's press paying dividends a couple of times in the opening forty-five. In fact, one of The Royals' biggest chances came with Puscas and Ejaria working to dispossess the home side in their own box, but Ovie's poke toward his forward partner ended up being difficult to control and saw Puscas handle before shooting wide anyway. (I think the ref gave it as handball, but the data sites have included it; even if they've included it now, it woul

Reading 1-1 Cardiff City

The fact that this is a little late should tell you all you need to know about where my head is at with the the team right now. Rino stops a more dangerous pass into the middle of the pitch, instead Tom Holmes ends up passing long to Yiadom (which does almost come off, but is a much more difficult ball.) Reading have often struggled to play out from the back against more than one striker, and that's where Laurent and Rinomhota need to improve. Either, they need to be able to turn on the ball - which is admittedly tough with pressure - or remove themselves from the passing lanes. All that ever happens is that they bounce the ball back to one of the CBs. It's impossible for the defence to pass through the lines. Reading in the second half - higher starting position, wider forwards, a little more direct. Early in the second half, Reading just decided to bypass the midfield completely and instead go long into Joao. Unfortunately, his injury put paid to that tactic. It was especiall

Watford 2-0 Reading

 An expected defeat, but one that leaves The Royals in a precipitous position in the play-off race. Size of event = xG. Sarr's goals totalled 0.11xG according to infogol. When the other team has an asset worth £40m then it's unsurprising that they provide moments of real quality. Ismaila Sarr was involved in all of Watford's best moves, including the two goals. Reading's defence has been predicated on forcing shots from bad angles - and you could argue they did that even despite their mistakes, but they didn't account for the Watford winger's finishing. Gibson needs to take out the passing lane to Sarr as he goes across, and at least force the pass down the line. Ovie needed to track back, and Laurent failing to track Sarr is a serious failing. Goal one is a great example. The left side breaks down defensively - Ovie fails to track Zinckernagel down the right, which creates a knock-on effect with Gibson coming across (but in effect taking himself out of play by

Reading 3-1 Derby County

Reading made it a four-point weekend. That may be a little better in ice hockey than football, but a satisfactory return nonetheless. In the first half, there was a clear plan to try to play the ball quickly beyond the Derby defence, in a play reminiscent of how Reading scored at Oakwell just days before. Laurent was closest to making it work on a couple of occasions early on. A pass evaded Olise by millimetres before Meite was shrugged off a ball over the top. It's a low percentage, but high reward play that Reading were not far from making work.  Five pink shirts are worried more about Ovie than Laurent or Olise. Knight (#38, on the D) runs past Olise to cut off Ejaria, giving Olise that split-second extra to pick his spot. Obviously, Olise's beautiful strike to round out the first half didn't come from that sort of situation at all. Instead, Ejaria linked with Laurent well, first to move into the box, then to recycle possession. It's an area of the pitch that Ovie ha

Barnsley 1-1 Reading

When does a side deserve to win a match? Is it when they outshoot their opponents? Or dominate possession? Or is it, quite simply, when they score more goals than they concede? Lots of old school football folk would lean toward the last point, but it's obvious that the scoreline isn't always wholly reflective of the match it represents. It can feel like a team controlling possession is controlling the game, but the Stam Era shows how that is a fallacy. Instead, as with everything in life, it depends. And while the play may have been in the Reading third almost twice as much as it was in The Tykes', and while Barnsley had 2.5 times more shots than the away side, Reading should have won the game. Reading may not have created a lot of chances, but created big chances. I strongly believe xG displayed here is undervalued on all three big chances. Unbelievable chances fell first to Meite, then Ovie, and finally Joao. Blazed over, converted, wide. Throw a completely avoidable pen

Manchester City 1-0 Reading

The Royals fought valiantly against a superior Manchester City team. Reading largely kept the 5-3-2 from facing Tottenham, but you could argue it was closer to a 3-4-1-2, with both James and Fishlock playing deeper. Cooper came back into the side to replace Emma Mitchell, and Rachel Rowe returned after suspension. City overloaded the wing in the 5-3-2, with the defence stretched The problem was that Manchester City's 4-3-3 stretched the three centre-backs, with Kelly and Hemp starting against the touchline. Reading's wing-backs offered little support as they pressed high, worrying far more about City's full-backs. When Reading gain possession further up the pitch they were liable to be countered on, with City getting numbers forward quickly. And that was coupled with the fact that some sloppy errors led to big chances too. Reading were lucky not to be three or four down by the time they had their first shot - 25 minutes into the match. It was a change of shape that allowed