Like QPR, it took Reading a while to get going as they had to wait until game 11 for their first win of the season: a 2-1 victory against Everton. Unfortunately for them, that preceded the first of two 7-game losing streaks – the second of which came after a brief Adam Le Fondre-inspired fruitful January period.
In terms of goals scored, Reading performed satisfactorily for the most part and did well during January. They were most damaged by their below-par defence, which even during that spell of good January form (games 20-25) was averaging 1.5 goals condeded per game.
Reading’s home results were ok – losses to the top 5 accounted for the majority of their negative home goal difference – it was their away form that truly undermined them. The worst in the Premier League on the road, their meagre 8 away points came from wins at Newcastle and Fulham plus 2 draws at Swansea and QPR.
A 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea represented the only points Reading managed to earn in 10 games against the top 5 whilst conceding about 3 goals per game. It didn’t really matter to the attack, who scored at a similar rate of just above 1 goal per game no matter who the opposition was.
Reading are another side, like QPR before them, who had a relatively unsettled team: the dominant player groups for Reading were those who played between 1200-2000mins or somewhere between 13 and 22 games in total.
Jobi McAnuff played 3274mins, and Mariappa and Leigertwood managed about 2600mins each but otherwise Reading clearly lacked quality performers in their team. This is further highlighted by the general underperformance of their players in the ave performance score chart.
- Fewest total tackles in the league (596). Can that be right?!
- Fewest total ground duels (2425)
- Second highest number of aerial duels (1644) but second worst success rate (42.4%)
- Fewest total dribbles attemtped (377)
- Second lowest total shots attempted (394)
- Second most goalkeeper saves (156)
- Fewest passes in the league (12804)
- Second highest total crosses attempted (1008)