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Reading 1-4 Swansea

Reading finished 2018 surprisingly well with a spirited defeat away at Millwall followed up with a good point at QPR, so it was only right that they kickstart 2019 with an abysmal loss at home to Swansea on New Year's Day for a third successive defeat at the Madejski.

Omar Richards, briefly heralded as one of the next great prospects from the academy, was found wanting on a number occasions and really could be seen to be at fault for all of the first half goals. For the first he never closed down the cross, which gave Naughton all the time in the world to pick out McBurnie. On the second he's not strong enough to really pressure Leroy Fer, and gives him a free header across goal. And he lets van der Hoorn ghost in at the back post to finish from a free kick.

In my mind Richards is not the left back in a back four, he has far too many defensive frailties. I could see him fitting in at wing back on a back five, but he also needs to trust himself more going forward. The first time I saw him attempt to beat a player was with a few minutes remaining. It's true he doesn't have a whole lot of cover from those in front of him, but it's really no excuse for switching off.

The penalty is an absolute comedy of errors in the build up. Swift gives the ball away in the middle of the park. Ilori successfully stalls Routledge, but Rinomhota decides to double up, rather than tracking the run of Celina so O'Shea is dragged out of position. Which then frees up McBurnie for a simple finish, but thankfully Richards is alert enough to cover. And to be fair to the left back he made up some ground to get himself back, which was really good to see given the first half. It's then a simple throw into the feet of Routledge, who manages to roll Yiadom who drags him down to the ground. Boom - 4-0.

McBurnie up front absolutely ran the Reading defence ragged, and Ilori in particular couldn't handle him. He must love playing against us; 4 goals in 2 games is not a bad return. He was basically everything that Meite, up the other end, struggled to be.

There were a couple of positives, notably Rinomhota again impressing - the scouting system has worked absolutely perfectly there considering as he hasn't really come through our academy at all. As well as Callum Harriott finally getting game time after two years out. Curse that Foggy Fulham Fixture.

I actually thought that we looked okay going forward - Gomes clearly rates Swift, and he's starting to pull the strings, but we need a final pass. Aluko looked okay - I do think he'll end up being a 'Gomes type' player. Strong technically, with the ability to spring a counter-attack. Which is where McCleary and Barrow come in too. Unfortunately they couldn't unpick the Swansea defence - but it really is just that final ball that's missing. Captain McCleary in particular had a disappointing game, but it wasn't long ago that he was the only positive so hopefully it's just a slight dip in form.

I thought that in the first half when we harried Swansea with a high press they started making mistakes and really came under some pressure, the only issue was that every chance they got down the other end they took.

Obviously it was dreadful, but we have to write it off and go again next weekend. We're playing Manchester United at totally the wrong time, but it's almost a free pass for Gomes to try things. Fingers crossed we don't get hammered too badly.


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