October was a pretty rough month for Reading - we managed just one league win in five - but we needed a player of the month anyway. The team’s generally poor performances meant we were left with just the three candidates: Tiago Ilori, Yakou Meite, and your winner: Anssi Jaakkola. In the end, the big Finn romped home to victory with 49% of the vote, easily surpassing Meite (34%), Ilori (7%) and ‘The bus driver on the F30 from Twyford, our next manager?’ (1%).
We should really stop letting you guys submit your own answers...
Jaakkola may have only played three times during that spell (three times overall this season, in fact), but he started that run off with one of the stand-out individual performances of the campaign. His masterclass against Millwall helped Reading to a vital three points against potential fellow relegation candidates. It was also recognised by you, the fans, who resoundingly named him your man of the match with 68% of the vote.
He had to be on his days that day to repel a mighty siege from Neil Harris’ Lions. In total, the visitors managed a huge 24 shots from within the area that day, and an extended period of second half pressure kept Jaakkola very busy indeed. He finished the match with:
- 11 saves
- 2 punches
- 1 claim
Jaakkola would go on to play twice more for the team in October, getting the full 90 minutes at Birmingham City and Swansea. Although he couldn’t prevent Reading losing 2-1 and 2-0 respectively, you gave him the MOTM gong for the Birmingham City game and put him third for Swansea. Unfortunately for Anssi, injury would cut short his brief renaissance ahead of the Bristol City match, with Sam Walker coming back into the side for the 3-2 win
It’s tricky to work out at the moment just where Jaakkola fits in the pecking order. Sam Walker and Vito Mannone had been vying for the number one spot in the opening months of the season - with neither properly convincing. It seemed that Jaakkola had grasped his surprise opportunity in the first team with both gloves, but a return to the treatment table kick-starts the goalkeeping merry-go-round once more.
Should Jaakkola be Reading’s number one when he returns from injury? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.