Skip to main content

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 Reading enough of a foothold to actually have that shot on goal. Chambers switched to a 4-2-3-1. That gave the two centre-backs less to worry about, as they were insulated from the wide forwards by Leine and Woodham, while The Royals' wide midfielders were the ones to focus on Bronze and Stokes. Those extra bodies in midfield contributed to Reading winning the ball high, with Fishlock able to slip through Eikeland. It's a chance that she, really, should have buried, but as we know Eikeland is not adept at finishing chances.

Leine isn't quick enough to track the run of Weir

The change in formation also put less pressure on Leine. Reading's centre backs track players fairly high - slightly odd in a formation with two defensive midfielders - but they don't seem to have the pace to get back into position. Bartrip seems to put herself in the right position the majority of the time but maybe Leine hasn't had that consistent game-time needed to get up to speed. On a few occasions, she was lagging behind the play.

It must be said that it didn't seem to matter what the formation was, Chloe Kelly managed to find enough space to cause Reading problems, especially in the first half. No Reading defender seemed to be able to deal with her. It was only Moloney in goal that kept the score down. Moloney was impervious. She may have had an issue at Bristol, but she kept her team in the game for long stretches.

The goal, while a great piece of play by Hemp, was a defensive failing on the part of many players. James and Harding turned over possession before both made half-hearted tackles to stop Hemp's run. Maybe worried about giving a penalty away, and Leine could have felled the winger before she even got that far. I think Bartrip probably got a little too deep, rather than being in the right passing lane.

At the end of the day, a 1-0 loss is not a terrible result, but it was a score of Manchester City's making. Another tight game against the big four should have ended up more like games against Chelsea or Arsenal than 


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

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

Replacing Omar Richards

In the summer team report I wrote: "we  really  don't want to be going into 2021/2022 without any LBs so a new contract for Omar has to be on the agenda early". And yet, that seems to be exactly what's happening with Richards set to depart for pastures new. Whether he goes to Bayern Munich or not, bigger clubs are circling. There's a couple of options internally, and the club are also looking elsewhere. Ethan Bristow The youngster has been the go-to left-back for cup matches and tends to start for the U23s. He's been brought onto the bench since Richards' injury, but has found himself behind Gibson and McIntyre in the pecking order. Bristow's little run inside drags the right-back narrow, and gives Aluko space to attack He has good vision to spot a pass, and often plays them first time to not allow the defence to put him under pressure. That's normally followed by an intelligent run, and not always to get the ball - sometimes he simply pulls a defe