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West Bromwich Albion 4-1 Reading: Player Ratings

What we made of the Royals’ performance in their thumping at the Hawthorns.

Reading celebrate the opener
Simeon Pickup

This game is one of the trickier ones to grade fairly, considering the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Reading’s first and second half performances. Although much of the post-match coverage will quite rightly focus on a) the result b) the collapse in performance, I’ve tried to factor in two things:

  1. In the first half, Reading were actually very good.
  2. In the second half, a naturally talented West Brom side improved A LOT, so it was always going to be a tougher challenge for us at that stage.

I’ve tried to settle on overall ratings that are fair for the whole game but, as a bit of fun, I’ve also included some first half grades too.

Sam Walker: 4

Beaten far too easily at the far post by Dwight Gayle for West Brom’s equaliser, and again by the same player for their second. Probably his worst display in a Reading shirt and will have to bounce back whilst under pressure from Vito Mannone for the starting spot.

First half: 6

Chris Gunter: 5

Brought out to right wing-back, he didn’t get forward as much as Yiadom did on the other side. However, he did create Reading’s best chance of the second half with a well-placed cross that Swift hit straight at the ‘keeper.

First half: 6

Tiago Ilori: 7

Reading’s best defender on the day, he was composed and distributed the ball well - in both halves. Didn’t really do too much wrong and was unlucky to be part of a defence that shipped four goals - my man of the match by quite some distance.

First half: 8

Liam Moore: 5

Some key interventions in the first half, but completely lost Harvey Barnes for the crucial third West Brom goal and was beaten in the air by Kyle Bartley for number four.

First half: 7

Tyler Blackett: 5

Returned from injury to get his first start in a while, this time as part of a back three, and almost opened his account with a volley from a corner. Shifted to left-back when Reading went to a back late on. Generally didn’t look out of place bar a few errors, including one that led to a dangerous West Brom counter in the first half. Could keep his place in the first team.

First half: 6

Andy Yiadom: 6

Played most of the game at left wing-back where he get forward very well and was happy to both take on his man and try to get in behind. Tried to do the same after the break but to less of an effect.

First half: 7

Saeid Ezatolahi: 5

Stung the goalie’s palms with Reading’s first chance of the day, a drive from range that would be parried away for the corner which led to the opener. Gave the midfield strength and balance in the first half, putting in some key interceptions but the game passed him by in the second. Beaten in the air by Bartley for the Baggies’ second.

First half: 7

Leandro Bacuna: 6

A terrific first half performance, capped off by a lovely finish with his weaker foot in off the far post. Otherwise he was industrious, strong and gave Reading forward momentum with his driving runs from deep. Could have had an eye-catching assist had McNulty buried his chance.

Struggled to have a similar impact in the second half when the team really needed players like him to stop the momentum shifting in West Brom’s favour. Withdrawn for Liam Kelly.

First half: 8

John Swift: 5

Registered an assist for Bacuna’s strike, he was fleet-footed and creative throughout the opening 45 - on that basis he’s back to his best. However, he was far less involved after the break and scuffed his only chance in that half, a first-time finish from Gunter’s cross that he probably should have buried.

First half: 7

Marc McNulty: 5

Really should have done better with a one-on-one chance that he took a little bit too long with before sliding the ball past the far post. Gave West Brom problems by trying to get in-behind in the first half, but little impact in the second.

First half: 6

Yakou Meite: 5

Given a slightly different role in this game as the target man in a strike pairing, Meite led the line pretty well and probably looks more comfortable up top when he has someone else alongside him (in this case McNulty). However, he struggled in the second half due to a lack of service - eight touches after the break says it all.

First half: 6

Subs

Josh Sims and Modou Barrow: 5

Both came into the game at 3-1, and neither had much of an impact on a game that was already gone, so I’ll lump them together and give them the same grade.

Liam Kelly: N/A

Brought on for Bacuna just after Bartley had made it 4-1, not enough time to do anything significant.


Average: 5.23

First half: 6.72 (our highest average of the season)

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