In the space of just a few games our away record has gone from being mildly respectable to ominously worrying. Whilst we’ve now picked up six points from our last three games at home, it’s just one point from our last three on the road following the 2-1 reverse at St Andrews in midweek.
Reading have gone from one loss in five away from home this season following the Brentford draw in September to just one win in seven, which highlights how fickle statistics can be and how just a couple of bad performances can immediately take any gloss away from a team’s run.
In total it’s now just two away wins for Reading in 2018 in all competitions, and for the Royals to improve on this in any way it means taking three points from a ground we’ve never won at in the league. Since Swansea City’s move from the Vetch Field in 2005, Reading have played four league matches against them with two defeats and two losses, failing to score on our first three occasions.
It’s not a ground that travelling Loyal Royals will have many fond memories of, and there won’t be many recent ones of playing the Swans in general either. Reading have now gone nine games without beating Swansea in all competitions since a 4-0 humbling of the newly-promoted side back in 2008 at the Madejski Stadium - a game which saw brothers Stephen and Noel score in the same game as each other for the first time in Reading shirts.
This current blip has turned Swansea into somewhat of a bogey side for Reading, which rather goes against our overall history of playing the South Wales side. This current dreadful run of form against Swansea stems back to January 2009, when a Jason Scotland double finished us off. However, before that, Reading had enjoyed a pretty fantastic run against the Swans, losing just five times in 25 meetings before then.
So in the last decade, Reading have managed to transform themselves from being Swansea’s bogey team to vice versa. We’ll need to transform back to how things were if the pressure is going to be eased from Paul Clement.
If you’d rather bother with the here and now though, you’ll probably want to know a bit more about Swansea’s season. Well, before Tuesday night they’d been on a bit of a downer themselves, having just one win in seven matches. They’ve lost just twice at home, but their last defeat was against Ipswich Town, the latter’s only win this season, so it seems they’re no stranger to helping out teams in need.
Looking ahead to Saturday
Would a point be enough? Would fans take a 0-0 draw? Well if you’d happily take a stalemate you may be in luck - no other Championship team has managed as many draws as Swansea have this season with four - more than Reading managed in the whole of last season.
In fact, while Swansea have managed four nil-nils in just fourteen league games, Reading have recorded that many in 71 league games – stretching back to the goalless draw against Newcastle United at the Madejski in March 2017. Whatever you may think about results, at least there’s been goals – which I’m aware is a very ‘mum like’ comment to make, but you’ve got to find some straws to clutch at when you’re teetering on the edge of the relegation zone.