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Reading FC 0-1 Wigan Athletic: Stats Insight

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Tuesday night was as bad a game at the Madejski Stadium as we have seen in a long time. Just what went wrong? @_EStacey tries to find out why by looking at the match statistics.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Let's start with my apologies. I don't mean to help you relive Tuesday night's atrocity believe me! Instead I'll try to find a way of explaining it... somehow.

Anyway, prior to the 8pm kick-off, Reading had beaten high-flyers Derby County at the iPro Stadium. In the FA Cup fifth round, the Royals gave a fantastic performance to beat the East Midlands side at their own ground. Reaching the quarter-finals is a big achievement for the Berkshire team which makes Tuesday night's boring 1-0 defeat to second-from-bottom Wigan even more hard to take.

This wouldn't be a statistical review without statistics so here goes.

A constant problem argued by most of the fans around me in the North Stand is the lack of pass completion. Head to head with Wigan, the Royals had just 48% of the possession with a miserable pass completion rate of 63%.

This, however, was not much worse than our opposition with just 64% pass completion and 52% possession for Malky Mackay's side.

Reading played very wide when they did eventually get the ball down at ground level. The wingers did see a lot of the ball during both halves, despite the annoying fact the ball was constantly lumped up towards Pavel Pogrebnyak from the Reading back line.

On paper this would say Reading were put under a lot of pressure from Wigan, but this was not the case. Wigan weren't that much better than us yet still managed to comprehensively win - says a lot!

Guilty Defenders

Centre-back Alex Pearce yet again looked uncomfortable on the ball and Chelsea loanee Nathaniel Chalobah, this time playing at the heart of defence, joined him by hoofing the ball upfield even when clear of any opposition players.

Nathaniel Chalobah's passing

Jordan Obita was another culprit for the rushed and lofted clearance but in his defence (pardon the pun) he was pressured by the Wigan frontline on numerous occasions.

According to WhoScored, Reading favoured attacking by shooting from range and creating goal scoring opportunities from set-pieces. This suggests the Royals lack quality in open play - a statement backed up by what we saw in the cold at the Madejski Stadium.

The three negatives that the site also picked up on were that we were poor at finishing, we lost possession often and committed a high number of individual errors.

This was definitely case on Tuesday night as Chalobah, Pearce, Danny Williams and Adam Federici were all guilty of giving the ball away with, and without pressure. The North Stand's faithful were less than joyous throughout the game as a result!

WhoScored goes on to suggest we favoured the right side with Garath McCleary, Williams and Pogrebnyak involved. Once again the stats showed we put a lot of crosses in to little effect.

Heat-map of Reading's touches of the ball

The same site also shows that 57.1% of Wigan's attempts on goal came outside of the 18-yard box, suggesting they weren't much better than the home side in terms of open-play attacks as Reading had only 40% outside the box.

So according to the stats, yet again Reading were under par against a side who, on paper, shouldn't have provided much of a challenge.

Steve Clarke's Honesty

One positive from the game, on the other hand, was Steve Clarke's initial thoughts in response to the team's woeful performance.

His negative words, we all hope, will act as a kick up the bum to the lacklustre players who were quite frankly useless on Tuesday night. Admittedly we are still in a period of transition so time needs to be given to the team to adjust. It is still fair to say though, that Tuesday's performance was nowhere near acceptable regardless of transition.

We have a difficult weekend tie away to Ipswich on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully we shall play a little better - just a little - and attack on both sides as well as through the middle. Fingers crossed, we may even see the ball played into the feet of our frontmen. Eyes will firmly be on the possession and pass completion stats as we cannot afford a repeat of the atrocious stats mentioned above.

Clarke branded the game as 'really disappointing' and even went as far as to say 'a little bit of me is embarrassed to be the coach of a team that played like that'. He echoes words of many fans.

Onwards and most definitely upwards!