The Dutchman was perhaps a surprise inclusion in Saturday’s XI, being one of only two changes made from the team that faced Nottingham Forest, as he replaced compatriot Joey van den Berg. While Clement did not do much wrong against Derby and certainly was not the worst player on the pitch (Sone Aluko and Tiago Ilori can fight it out for that honour), he didn’t exactly justify his inclusion either.
Clement is undoubtedly a talented footballer technically but his biggest problem is that he goes missing far too often and that is not the kind of player you want in your team when you are fighting against relegation. It is clear that Clement has not yet adjusted to the rigours of English football and while there is something there with him, you cannot use these massively important, end-of-season fixtures as a ‘learning experience’ for someone who is not ready to be involved in them is just asking for trouble.
Benefits of Spanish break (offensively)
In the last two games, Reading have played better since coming back from their week-long training camp in Spain - at least when going forward that is. The Royals have had more intent when they are attacking and it has shown in their goal scoring efforts. Modou Barrow’s goal was well taken after the Gambian used his explosive pace to beat the Derby defence and Liam Kelly’s 25-yard first-time effort was simply outstanding.
Always an entertaining fixture
There have been 19 goals scored in Reading vs Derby fixtures over the past two seasons, a pretty huge number. With six goals being scored in the away fixture which ended 4-2 in favour of the Royals, and the same amount being shared evenly this time around, it certainly seems to be a fixture which guarantees goals for whatever reason.
Defensive problems still there
Although improvements were shown going forward by Reading, the defensive issues were plain to see. Tiago Ilori had a torrid time against the Rams’ attack and it was the Portuguese who made the errors for Derby’s first and third goals.
Reading have had some shocking displays at the back this season and some of the defending has been, quite frankly, awful at times and it is hugely surprising that such a great defender himself, Jaap Stam has been unable to sort out his team’s issues.
When Reading went 1-0 down after just six minutes had been played, it seemed as though it was going to be a very long day for Royals fans at the Madejski Stadium. However, it took the home side just 10 minutes to answer back and marked the first of two times in the game that they had to come from behind to avoid losing their fifth league game in a row, something which would have been a club record.