1. Lots of chances, far outweighing the number of goals.
This is quite easy to predict, if we go by the stats. Reading have produced 27 chances in their last two games (Brentford- 14, Derby- 13), scoring one goal. Bournemouth, in their last two home games, have created 31 chances (Wigan- 16, Charlton- 15) and scored a sum total of three goals. Granted, these figures favour the home side of Tuesday's clash, but this seems to point to a real Championship affair of high intensity, end-to-end action, that reaps a couple of decisive moments that swing the game either way. Add in Reading's woeful defence (we will, soon), and there is more cause for concern. These stats do, however, represent the clinicality of Derby's performance on Saturday- scoring three from nine chances- a truly Premier League level of finishng.
2. The game will be won from the wings
Will has spoken about our use of the wings in attack from his Derby review, so I'll focus on the case in defence. Firstly, we all know the weaknesses of Reading's full-backs, and Bournemouth's wingers have all picked up assists this season, especially Matt Ritchie (5). The relevance of which is key, when considering that The Royals conceded 6 of their last 9 goals from wing-play of some kind (Derby- 2, Brentford- 2, Wolves- 2). This includes set-pieces, and tallies up to the fact that Reading can't clear wide balls into the box, and have certainly gotten worse at it.
The stats to back this up? Away from home, Alex Pearce has made 8.3 clearances per game this season, Michael Hector is down at 2.8... Sean Morrison's Cardiff record is a chunky 7.9 (and was 15.1 was for us last season). This is not just a point for Tuesday, but for the season: unless we rectify the huge amount of crosses reaching opposing attackers, we'll continue to let in goals.
3. A clean sheet for the home side
That point on profligacy by both teams? It gets worse for Reading when you consider that we've drawn a blank in four of our last six games, while Bournemouth have kept four clean sheets at home this season. Sure, a couple of those were against poor sides (which one could harshly describe Reading as), but keeping out a previously unbeaten Charlton side was a real shot in the arm for Eddie Howe's men. Three wins in their last four mean they sit 9th in the table, and 6th on the form guide. Meanwhile, Reading are 21st in the form table.
Pretty drab, I am afraid. At least, according the rule of sod for these games, Reading will return to Berkshire with a one-shot-one-goal win.
All stats courtesy of WhoScored and Squawka.