I said a two or three games ago that time was ticking for Paul Clement. It’s ticking much louder now. Still winless in the league, patience is wearing thin with a lot of Reading fans.
Now I don’t agree with the manager getting all of the blame for defeats, but I was expecting two things to have happened by now under Clement.
Number one is consistency in selection. I don’t think he knows his best team or even formation, something that is now a worry. The underlying factor to that is that he doesn’t know how to get the best out of his players.
Later in the week I will be writing an opinion piece on the troublesome midfield area, which is becoming more complicated game after game.
The second is identity. I see no identity in this team, aside from conceding poor goals, and poor decision making. I’m fully expecting the waters to be mudded further at the weekend at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Predicting a line-up is difficult at the moment, whereas a preferred line-up would be more simplistic.
Injury wise, it seems that only Chris Gunter is the only player that will return to the squad, after minutes for the Under-23’s last weekend, and playing the full 90 minutes against Watford on Wednesday night.
Barrow, Aluko, Meyler, Bödvarsson & Mannone weren’t involved against Watford, not a bad thing at all, so we can expect them to all start on Saturday barring any issues later in the week.
Wednesday on the other hand are something of an unknown quantity so far, with their manager blooding plenty of youth within a squad with very good experience.
Playing at home should give Reading the incentive to take control of the game. Sadly control is something that’s been seriously lacking this season. Teams have been very comfortable to play deep and allow Reading’s centre-backs and midfielders to have possession in their own half and around the halfway line.
Furthermore, Kelly and Swift in particular have really struggled to put their stamp on precedings. They both are clearly low on confidence, and often look as though they’re trying too hard to find that million dollar pass.
They’d be much better off moving the ball quickly and finding space – something that John Swift in particularly good at executing in the first season under Jaap Stam. I’d also like to see Barrow & Aluko to play much wider, and really stretch the width of the size.
Stealing a point away at Villa should help the confidence amongst the squad, particularly Sam Baldock & Josh Sims, who scored and won the penalty respectively.
Clement experimented with playing three centre-backs against Watford, and it may have been in preparation for Saturday’s game, given that Wednesday themselves sometimes operate with three centre-backs.
CB: Moore ©
Up the Biscuitmen!
Picture Credit: Reading FC