Reading Preview vs Bristol City (H)

I’m running out of things to say about this Reading team. I’m still in shock that Paul Clement is still manager of this club. Yet another defeat this on Saturday must surely mean the end. Now I’m all for giving managers time – many careers have been ruined by not being given adequate time. But Paul Clement is simply not a good fit for Reading. That applies to many at the club, both players and those in the hierarchy.

I’m very much tor with Saturday’s game. Of course I always want Reading to win. But I feel that winning may only paper over cracks. It would have to take four or five games unbeaten, with three or four of those games being victories to really turn the tide. Winning on Saturday, but then losing the following weekend to Ipswich would entirely prove my point. Winning every three games is simply not enough.

The performance at Swansea was another one to forget. Both goals, AGAIN were awful. I’ve said this a number of times in my recent previews that the next game is crucial. I’ll repeat that sentiment. Time is running out for this retched cycle to come to end. Bristol City’s indifferent form provides a good opportunity to win. But as I’ve mentioned above it’s a string of victories that’s required.

A huge problem at the moment is the midfield. The current crop of midfielders are so inept at controlling games. On a personal level I was furious when I discovered that George Evans was going to be leaving. Quality on the ball that he possesses has been missing. In my opinion there is no way on earth that he wouldn’t be a starter in this squad. The physical assets that Joey Van den Berg brought to the side were somewhat replaced by Saeid Ezatolahi, but his injury picked up on international duty was a big blow. To add to these issues has been the form of Kelly and Swift. I feel like a broken record by saying that they’ve proven that they can’t play in the same team. Both of them really need to buck up their ideas, especially as they’re more than likely to start together on Saturday.

The goalkeeping scenario is delicately poised and in some ways it’s not ideal to have three senior keepers and none of them assured to start when fit. Clement must pick one and stick with him, which of course he may have done with Anssi Jaakkola.

The back four largely picks itself at the moment, although Tiago Ilori was surprisingly dropped for the game at Swansea. I expect him to come straight back into the side for this weekend. Andy Yiadom has played every league minute thus far, but see that run come to an end after a dip in form. Chris Gunter is waiting for a return to the starting XI.

The midfield three seems relatively settled, with a real lack of options in that area. David Meyler would appear to be injured once again, which only leaves Andy Rinomhota in reserve at the moment.

The notable selections will come in the attacking areas. Clement has hinted that Mo Barrow may return to the fold, so it will be interesting to see what sort of reception he receives.  Much like in goal, nobody is really holding down a starting place aside from Yakou Meite. The likes of Baldock, Aluko, Sims, McCleary and Bodvarsson are all fit at the point of writing, and I’d like to see Bodvarsson back up front. Of course what I want is never going to happen! So here’s the lineup I expect to see.

GK: Anssi Jaakkola

RB: Chris Gunter

CB: Tiago Ilori

CB: Liam Moore (c)

LB: Tyler Blackett

CM: Liam Kelly

CM: Leandro Bacuna

CM: John Swift

RM/RW: Sone Aluko

ST: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson

LM/LW: Yakou Meite

Prediction:

I think we might get a draw out of the game, but unfortunately that isn’t enough.

Up the Biscuitmen!

Picture Credit: Reading FC

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