Reading Preview vs Birmingham (A)

Tuesday night sees a big opportunity for Reading to earn, or win three more points. Saturday’s win was a strange one in many ways. By no means the first choice XI, somehow Reading scored three, and even more surprisingly, conceded just once, another typical opposition goal at the Madejski.

Anssi Jaakkola certainly won’t have been expecting to be starting Saturday’s clash, having not featured at all this season. he was instrumental between the sticks, showing off the attributes that many have been missing this season; convincing shot-stopping, and commanding his penalty area. He was supported well by his centre-backs, Liam Moore in particular one of Reading’s top performers yet again.

Tyler Blackett’s timely return to some form was certainly welcomed. A player that has been booed off by some of his home supporters, put in one of his best performances in a Reading shirt to date, encapsulated by his impeccable cross for Yakou Meite’s opener, and his industrious attacking that resulted in a penalty beautifully dispatched by Sam Baldock. there was debate surrounding the penalty decision, but Reading got the rub-of-the-green on this occasion, something that has certainly been missing this season.

After half time came wave after wave of Millwall pressure, that saw them register 26 efforts on goal. Reading stood firm, and got a third through Yakou Meite’s header, capping off a very strong all-round performance from him.

as with every Reading victory this season, it can all become irrelevant with a poor showing away at Birmingham. Defeat doesn’t necessarily mean irrelevance – the performance is all that matters at this stage. I’m aware that many would argue that the results are all that matters, and I understand and think that at certain points. But this game is one of those where the performance can go a long way.

Predicting the lineup is usually tough under Clement, and  Saturdays win probably won’t make it any easier, with Clement almost certainly having one eye on Saturday’s game at Swansea, and managing workloads. Personally I wouldn’t want to see Sam Baldock lining up on the left wing again. I’d much rather see Mo Barrow or Josh Sims lineup for the Royals. Whether Garath McCleary can start two games in such a short remains to be seen, but as mentioned Sims and Barrow wouldn’t be disappointing selections out wide.

With that in mind, my predicted lineup is as follows;

GK: Anssi Jaakkola

RB: Andy Yiadom

CB: Tiago Ilori

CB: Liam Moore (C)

LB: Tyler Blackett

CM: Leandro Bacuna

CM: John Swift

CM: Liam Kelly

RM/RW: Josh Sims

ST: Yakou Meite

LM/LW: Mo Barrow


2-2 draw, a result I would gladly take before the game. Up the Biscuitmen!

Picture Credit: Reading FC


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