There’s not much positive spin I can really put on any stat at the moment, and there’s little point in trying. If I tried to look at something upbeat, it would do scant little to lift the average fan’s mood as it cannot possibly paper over the massive whole, the only figure that matters is that we have only won once in fourteen games which I touched on last week.
If I write anything that adds any further insight to our current predicament it’s merely pointing out the obvious. Therefore, this week I’ve decided to do something a bit less tied to our current form and considering up next we appear on the telly box for just the second time this season, I thought I’d look at our history of televised games and our general head-to-head record against Wolves to see whether or not we have much to look forward to this weekend.
The Sky’s the limit
The Sky cameras don’t come round our way too often and we have a history of really not making the most of the occasion. It’s hard to not get excited when we briefly get given the limelight, especially as a former exiled Royal myself. However, it has been getting harder and harder to work up that enthusiasm as generally we do like to get beaten on TV.
Reading have not won a televised away game since our 3-0 triumph over Derby at Pride Park on the final day of the 2014/15 season. Whilst going further back, we have won only one further away game since memorably beating Southampton 3-1 in 2012: that was once again another 3-1 win, this time at QPR in February 2014 (remember that sensational McCleary goal?).
Overall, since Reading’s promotion to the Premier League in 2012, the only times we have won in front of the camera in all competitions have been to Fulham (H), Leeds (H), Ipswich - twice (H), Bradford (H) and QPR (A). That’s only seven wins out of a possible thirty-four, and in terms of just league matches, five out of twenty-four. So here’s hoping Reading can break the status quo at Molineux on Saturday.
The Royals have played Wolves on 43 occasions, and you might be surprised to hear it’s squeakily close in the head-to-head record, with Reading notching up 17 wins, seven draws and 19 defeats against the Black Country outfit. In terms of recent history, our record is pretty impressive, just three defeats in eleven meetings - winning five and drawing three.
At Molineux our form in the post-war era is very evenly matched as well, in fourteen matches, six wins, one draw and seven defeats. Our last win at Wolves came back in February 2015, courtesy of strikes from Pog and Danny Williams. However, that’s been our only win there since 2008.
What impact will these stats have on Saturday’s match?
Well nothing really, neither will they give any useful proper insight to our recent form, just as the stats/data that, according to Jaap Stam, show how Reading have one of the highest movement and energy rates in the league don’t really solve anything. Stam’s claim came in an interview with Tim Dellor before Tuesday’s defeat, and this may sound quite odd coming from the writer of a stats article, but his blind faith in these stats despite our obvious decline is quite worrying.
Stats can at times be manipulated to make you hear what you want to hear. To say Reading have only lost three times to Wolves in our last eleven against them hides the fact that we have won just one of our last five meetings against them, scoring just two goals. The ease in which stats and data can be manipulated means no football team or manager should use them to justify or defend themselves. Analysing stats before a match can be insightful and a bit of fun, but it shouldn’t stop Stam from seeing how static our style of play has been this season.