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Reading 0-1 Bolton: The Alternative View

Someone hadn’t read the script…

Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

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.


Social

Goals win games

Gotta love a stat

It’s August...

Paul Clement

An element of truth...

Can’t say I’m surprised

Form

#Turnaround

Is this the reason Clement said there should have been a home win?

Ah or maybe this

Speaks volumes

Song Section

Geography slightly out...

Standard

Just no


Media

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.

Don’t forget to check out The Tilehurst End for the latest news & views!


Summary

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?