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Points to Prove? Delving into our Reading FC Player Ratings for 2014/15

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You're used to seeing our player ratings on a game-by-game basis, and even over a month in our player of the month but what can the scores and averages for the 17 league games so far tell us?

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Star Performers

I have to use this term wisely because the sad fact is that through 17 league games not one player who's appeared in at least five games has averaged more than 6.5/10.

However, that's by no means a bad rating, after all by a general consensus among our various player raters 5 is average and a 6 is a tick above average so to be rated 6.5 means you're somewhere between above average which is no mean feat in a struggling side.

TOP FIVE HIGHEST AVERAGE RATINGS (Min 5 appearances)

Player Average Rating
O Norwood 6.46 (14 games)
G Murray 6.45 (11 games)
A Federici 6.44 (16 games)
S Cox 6.24 (17 games)
H Akpan 6.08 (12 games)

I don't think there will be too many arguing with this list. It contains our two top scorers (Murray & Cox), a man who's been the barrier between us and some genuine hammerings (Federici) and one of our most consistent midfielders (Norwood).

Hope Akpan is a bit of a surprise to make the top five, holding a slender 0.02 advantage over Alex Pearce, with Nick Blackman at 6.00 and Aaron Kuhl and Jake Cooper also at that mark.

The two most surprising omissions for me are last season's Player of the Season Jordan Obita who averages 5.88 and Jamie Mackie who despite four Player of the Match awards, also only averages 6/10.

Points to Prove?

In a team mired in the bottom half of the Championship you'd expect a fair few duds but in actual fact only one player who's played at least five games has an average below a 5 - a number you'd generally consider 'average'.

Sadly that player just so happens to be the man with reportedly the highest wages in the football club's history, Pavel Pogrebnyak.

FIVE LOWEST AVERAGE RATINGS (Min 5 appearances)

Player Average Rating
P Pogrebnyak 4.67 (10 games)
H Robson-Kanu 5.00 (7 games)
J Taylor 5.31 (15 games)
R Edwards 5.50 (7 games)
M Hector 5.60 (15 games)

While I've not been impressed with Pog this season I do think his ratings have been a little harsh at times. Certainly his average hasn't been helped by a 1/10 at Bournemouth or a 3/10 against Blackpool (given by separate player raters I'll add) while the very fact he's often brought on as an afterthought  hardly give him room to boost his scores.

The same defence can't save Hal Robson-Kanu, who despite making five consecutive starts only scored higher than a five once, and even that was in a poor 3-0 defeat to Derby. The fact four of those five starts came in defeats obviously didn't help but he still managed just a 5/10 in a 3-0 win over the worst side in the Championship.

Michael Hector's name on the list doesn't shock me given how poor the back four have been and the only thing that's really saved him from being higher on the list was consecutive 8/10's in wins against Fulham and Middlesbrough. We often talk about how being young can make a player inconsistent and there's no better example than Hector, who's earned three 8's but also three 4's and a 3 this season. Compare that to his defensive partner Alex Pearce who despite just two performances of 8/10, had an average nearly half a point higher.

The anomaly on the five players named above is Jake Taylor. It's hard to believe that a player who's popped up with a couple of match winning goals is by the numbers the third weakest in the squad. Sadly the fact that Taylor's often been played out of position and more importantly, started so often, seems to have done him in here. The Welsh international just hasn't left an impression when he's started games and that's what leads to 4's and 5's instead of those 6's and 7's. In fact Taylor has only been rated a 7/10 once, when he scored the winner against Ipswich.

General Points

Unsurprisingly for a young team with a fair number of new signings, overall performances have been very inconsistent. There's no real clear pattern of progression or regression over the season, more a sign of one step forward, one back.

Period Team Average
August 6.01
September 6.47
October 5.31
November 5.78
Season 5.92

There's precious little flair....

While a team full of 7's is what you want to aim for, there have been precious few performances this season where players have been rated outstanding. In fact since October began we've only handed out four ratings higher than a seven and three of those all came in one match against Rotherham.

But it's not been the pits either...

By the same token, despite some pretty appalling results, few players have really let the side down with disastrous performances. Again since October began we've only handed out four ratings lower than a four, and again three came in one match against Bournemouth.

The only way is up..

Bizarrely I think the fact our averages have been so low is going to be a good thing in the long run. With so few players 'over achieving' there's no sense that we're in a false position, while you'd have to suggest that new faces, be they signings or those returning from injury, won't have to do all that much to be upgrades on the current under achievers. Equally, those players who are below 6/10 could and SHOULD turn their form around over the course of the campaign.

So what do you make of some of the numbers above? Let us know in the comment section and If you want to dig back through the archives yourselves, you can find all of our player ratings right here.