Skip to main content

Reading 0-0 Aston Villa

While the game itself may not have been the talking point of Saturday's fixture, Reading battled to a good point against a disappointing Villa side.  On paper the visitors have a side to trouble the automatic places, from Croatia's first-choice goalkeeper Kalinić, to perennial Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham but their gameplan of pinging it up to the big man never really looked like paying off.

Admittedly they had chances - El Ghazi forced a decent save by Martinez, but Tammy Abraham nodded the follow up wide from 6 yards. He was racing to get there ahead of Blackett and Miazga but probably should have done better. Equally our new GK probably should have tried to tip it further wide but in the end no damage done. On another occasion the crossbar helped save him when Elphick beat him to the ball from a corner.

That said he more than redeemed himself when Abraham met a beautiful El Ghazi cross. You could argue he got slightly too much on it, which directed it closer to Martinez's glove, but his reactions were second to none. Blackett had the composure to steer the ball away from two onrushing Villa players before Moore cleared down field. That chance was actually quite similar to Reading's best at the end of the first half. Swift's free-kick was flicked toward goal by Oliveira, but Miazga at the back post didn't react quickly enough to get to the rebound.

Although there's a lot of valid criticism of referee Geoff Eltringham's performance I thought he got a few big decisions right. El Ghazi and Oliveira made it easy for him with pretty poor dives in the box, but I thought that Hutton used his strength when challenging Ejaria in the box. They were side-by-side, and Ejaria was looking for it.

Oliveira has been the recipient of a fair amount of praise in the two games he's played, but I'm personally yet to be fully convinced. He seems adept at linking up play, works hard, and has a decent shot on him. In contrast to Bodvarsson he seems the type of player to get the ball, go on a run, and try to finish. Nothing wrong with that, but it is frustrating when he turns into a player, or could pick out the easy ball. I do think that he probably 'fits the style' better and hopefully things start clicking when he gets a run of games and gets used to the division again. Bodvarsson is just going to have to put up with the fact that he got injured at precisely the wrong time.

In regards to Tyrone Mings at the time I didn't think it was deliberate. Watching it back, it's hard to tell. I don't buy into the argument that he's looked at Oliveira and made sure he stamps on him - it happens so quickly that I don't think he has the time to process all of that but I'm also not convinced that he's made his best effort to avoid him.

Overall - I'll take a point. We weren't at our best, and they weren't at theirs. I go into this weekend with a strange sense of optimism that we could actually get a result away at Hillsborough; which is nice. Fingers crossed that Oliveira can return sooner rather than later.


Popular posts from this blog

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

The Big Man Cometh

In the grand scheme of things, I consider myself a bit of an Andy Carroll sceptic. Reading have a penchant for signing players that spend the majority of their time in the physio room, and Carroll aligns with that transfer policy to a tee. It must be said that given the lack of other options, and a short term deal that has no real risk for the club, there isn't any big downside in gambling on the Geordie. With that being said, even I was calling out for the introduction for The Big Man at half-time on Saturday. Reading had a heap of possession just outside the box in the opening forty-five but couldn't translate that into chances. Drinkwater had a tame shot saved after good work from Yiadom, but the best chance of the half fell to Puscas after a fortuitous deflection off a Forest player. The flag went up for offside but it didn't matter as the striker couldn't convert anyway. Both managers had done a fairly good job at negating the other side's strengths. Forest'

"We’ve never been so flat"

There have been some abysmal Reading performances this season, I don't really need to list them out. But in that dirge, there are two performances that I haven't fully come to terms with my feelings on. The visits of Sheffield United and Luton to The SCL are a clash between feeling like the concept behind the tactics was  reasonable and the implementation clearly not working. But there's one issue with my reading of the game; Veljko himself wasn't happy with either performance. In fact, he used the exact same word to label both - 'flat'. Reading's three in midfield meant they could cover SU attacking midfielders and wing backs And yet, the set-ups for both seem to perfectly explain why the team may be flat. Against The Blades they switched to a 4-3-2-1, with Ejaria dropping deeper to form the three alongside Drinkwater and Laurent. That trio were effectively tasked with stopping McGoldrick and Gibbs-White from being able to come central. On Wednesday we may