After Tuesday’s excellent performance in the Carabao Cup, Reading returned to RG2 full of hope around getting a nailed-on three points against a poor Bolton side who, like us, struggled last season. Yeah, so that’s what was meant to happen. The truth of the matter is that Reading put in a poor display, with little to get the crowd excited about and a game plan which went out of the window. The 3 points instead went to a solidly-drilled Bolton team.
Looking at the views of the Trotters fans after the game, and there are a couple of stand-out elements to it: firstly, that they shouldn’t ever be allowed to come up with football chants/songs, secondly Parky is the second coming of baby Jesus, and thirdly Clement’s comments about Bolton post-match are asking for trouble.
Goals win games
Gotta love a stat
An element of truth...
Can’t say I’m surprised
Last season, after 13 games played #BWFC only had 6 points. (W1, D3, L9). This season we have exceeded that total after just 3 games (W2, D1).— Bolton Nuts (@BoltonNuts) August 18, 2018
Fantastic! @superagent73 @MarcIles @OfficialBWFC #correctedstats
Is this the reason Clement said there should have been a home win?
.@OfficialBWFC have won their first two @SkyBetChamp away games this season, surpassing the combined number (1) they managed in their last two campaigns at this level.— BWFC Stats (@bwfcstats) August 18, 2018
Prior to this, Wanderers had won just two of their previous 56 away games in the competition.#BWFC pic.twitter.com/y1FbGcFA0t
Ah or maybe this
We’ve now won more away games this season than we did in our last two seasons in The Championship combined. We are going up!! #BWFC— Luke Taylor (@Lukeyt_BWFC) August 18, 2018
Geography slightly out...
Yanic on the streets of London, Yanic on the streets of Birmingham #BWFC— MrHughes85 (@yozzerbean) August 18, 2018
Our new @Erhun_A_Oztumer chant for when he starts banging em in! Let's have it. ⚽️⚽️— Leeds_Wanderer (@mini0mk) August 18, 2018
The Wizard of Oz is the one because, because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We came to see the Wizard
The wonderful Wizard called Oz. #BWFC
Coverage of the Royals in the media is never great, probably something to do with being at the wrong end of the table. However, for those around who have no paint to watch drying or shopping to do, Sky Sports have their usual coverage of the game. They carry a fairly muted report of the game, and are probably right in their view that Reading ran out of ideas.
The BBC quote the records rather than the game – stating that this is Bolton’s first win over Reading since 1996, it’s the first time we have lost our opening three league games since 1959, and the last time Bolton beat us Parky was in the team for Reading.
The Reading Chronicle carry an in-depth article with David Meyler saying he performance wasn’t good enough (quell shock). As always there’s an in-depth review of the game etc on the Football.London site with Jonathan Low quoting Clement where he says the Reading manager “slammed” his team’s performance.
There’s no medal for guessing that Bolton News are over the moon with their team’s start to the season. They report that these three points were no less than Bolton deserved and carry a polar opposite collection of reports to the game than Football.London do.
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There were some interesting points Clement made in his post-match interview – no doubt these will be pulled apart over the next day or so, but I have said many times in this column that the phrase “we should be beating teams like…” are dangerous phrases. They are used to gee up opposition before matches and post-match, and sound either like excuses or sour grapes.
While Reading’s winger issues have been noted by everyone, the real issue for me is our midfield or more importantly a distinct lack of creative edge in it. Liam Kelly has proven that on his day that he is a class act and Swift’s quality had been lauded by better people than me, but I can’t help but wonder that, if these two young guns are truly the quality that we believed, would they really be still at Reading?
We have Liam Moore back in defence, but dropping Tiago Ilori was a huge call by Clement, and when it’s done by the “you’re the captain and playing” method rather than who’s had the better season so far, it is slightly alarming.
We have a quick turnaround with a trip to Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday where it will be an interesting team selection. The question is though: do we have the strength in depth to actually change much, and indeed are you strengthening or weakening the team by wholesale changes?
I asked before: when does a run become a crisis? Clement may have coached Ronaldo and subbed him, but if he doesn’t start getting wins soon then the knives will be out. You have to ask yourself though, with successive managers struggling to make this team work, is it the manager, the club or the players which are the problem?