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Player Of The Month In Focus: Jón Daði Böðvarsson

A closer look at Reading’s top goalscorer, who wins the second POTM of the season.

Reading v Crystal Palace - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

With the second month of the season out of the way, we’ve had the first win of this campaign and also an end to a winless home run stretching back to the start of April with a 3-0 victory against fellow-strugglers Hull City. And, with Reading recording wins, the Player of the Month for September, with a whopping 48% of the vote, is Icelandic striker Jón Daði Böðvarsson.

Ever since the departure of Adam Le Fondre in 2014, The Royals have suffered from inconsistency in attack, ranging from the forgettable half season that Orlando Sá played in Berkshire, to the surprising high-scoring veteran Yann Kermorgant, who seemed to only find his goal-scoring form once his pensioner’s bus pass had come through!

There was some excitement last summer with the current options on offer, as Reading signed last season’s League Two top goalscorer in Marc McNulty, and Sam Baldock who played a role in getting Brighton & Hove Albion promoted from the Championship in 2017. But we will put these two to one side for now, as we focus on the talents of Jón Daði Böðvarsson.

In it to win it

Last month, our in focus article on winner Andy Yiadom zeroed in on the fact that he had the most appearances of an outfield player at the time. I’m going to surprise you by saying the exact opposite of Böðvarsson; the fact that he only made two starts last month but still provided four goals for the side proves how clinical he has been.

Playing for Iceland just four days prior to the Preston North End game, it was no surprise he was only given quarter of an hour of match time in the 3-2 win, but this was the only game of the month which didn’t feature a goal from Jón Daði. He played just 21 minutes of the midweek encounter against Norwich City, scoring the consolation in a 2-1 defeat, and then provided three goals in the next two games as Reading took points in both. With last year’s Premier League Player of the Year Mohamed Salah only scoring one in the same month with the same amount of appearances, I think it’s pretty clear who the better player is!

Goal!

With a striker winning this award, it should be no surprise that one of the stats that stands out is his goal tally. Goals haven’t been too hard to come by in this campaign, with Reading only finishing three games out of twelve in the league without hitting the back of the net.

However, unlike in previous years for The Royals, goal-scoring hasn’t been shared out too much this term and has been in the domain of Baldock and Bodvarsson for the most part. The latter has not only succeeded in being Reading’s top scorer by several goals, but he also figures highly in the Championship’s goals-per-game charts.

EFL Championship Scoring Form

Name Club Appearances, inc. substitute Goals-per-Game
Name Club Appearances, inc. substitute Goals-per-Game
Neil Maupay Brentford 10 1
Tommy Elphick Aston Villa 1 1
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson Reading 9 0.8
Dwight Gayle WBA 11 0.7
Bradley Dack Blackburn Rovers 9 0.7
Kemar Roofe Leeds United 6 0.7

Yes, that’s right. When it comes to goals per game this season, Böðvarsson is third in the entire league with 0.8. September has been his best month, with four goals in three matches bumping his stats up above Dwight Gayle who won the division’s Player of the Month award for September.

Not only does it bring back my point about clinical finishing, but it also shows reliability. On a wet Tuesday night in Stoke, I would be happy to see Jón Daði’s name on the teamsheet as it gives us a good chance of scoring.

A touch of magic

If you ask any Reading fan which game is their favourite this season, the entertaining 3-2 victory against Preston could be the answer for many. But, with good times having deserted Reading at the Madejski Stadium ever since the dour play-off final defeat to Huddersfield Town, a 3-0 home victory against fellow strugglers Hull City brought a smile to every fan’s face.

Below is Böðvarsson’s touch map from that game, which shows not only that he made five touches within the opposition penalty area, but four of those five were shots on goal, demonstrating the Icelandic international is making the most of his opportunities in the penalty area. This is not an anomaly either - in the 2-2 draw against Brentford, he got four touches in the penalty area, three of which were in the six-yard box.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com