Sam Walker: 5
Made a few smart stops, his distribution was OK but he couldn’t do too much about either of Watford’s goals, particularly the thunderous second.
Chris Gunter: 5
Made his first start of the season for Reading’s senior side after missing the opening weeks through injury. Got the full 90 minutes which is a good indicator for his fitness, but didn’t do anything to suggest he’ll displace Andy Yiadom. Got forward and found space well in the first half, and set up Marc McNulty with a great cross, but faded badly in the second half.
Tiago Ilori: 5
A pretty confident display in the first half, albeit sometimes sloppy with his passing. However, his distribution went increasingly wayward after the break, and he was not the assured centre half we’ve seen this season.
John O’Shea: 7
Impressive at the back in the first half, and was on hand to spare Liam Moore’s blushes after the Englishman put Reading under pressure with a dangerous back-pass. Tidy in possession and generally managed the back three nicely, although his lack of mobility held him back - as seen in the first goal.
My man of the match, although he didn’t have much competition, and was taken off in the second half so that Reading could go two up top.
Liam Moore: 5
Captained Reading despite the return of Chris Gunter, but wasn’t as commanding as we’d expect. Poor distribution in both halves, and almost had a calamitous moment in the first 45 when his back-pass gifted Watford a run through on goal. Wasted a top chance after the break when he headed Bacuna’s corner over the bar, but to be fair he put in a vital block in the first half.
Omar Richards: 4
A rough night for the youngster who struggled to have an impact at left wing-back, and was withdrawn for Andy Yiadom in the second half. Appears to lack composure in general, and needs to offer more of a threat going forwards. Won’t be taking Tyler Blackett’s starting spot any time soon.
Leandro Bacuna: 4
Didn’t look too bad in the first half, playing at the base of a midfield three where he could do the simple stuff well, looking energetic and busy. However, he struggled in the second half in a two alongside Kelly and his standards dropped markedly, giving the ball away cheaply too many times and not giving Reading enough defensive cover.
Liam Kelly: 4
Just didn’t get in the game either on or off the ball, and particularly struggled physically against Watford’s strong midfielders. Tonight was always going to be tough, but Kelly just doesn’t seem to have the character to adapt to games when they’re not going his way.
John Swift: 5
Hauled off at half-time after offering Reading little going forwards. He was the dedicated playmaker in the Royals’ midfield three, but didn’t create anything. Brought a routine save out of Gomes from a free-kick just after the opener.
Yakou Meite: 6
He’s certainly unrefined in his technical ability, but Meite a) works hard b) is proactive in trying to make things happen - hence him getting a higher mark than others. Some of Reading’s better moments in open play came when the Frenchman drove at Watford’s defence from deep, pushing his team up the pitch and winning a few fouls around the Hornets’ box.
Although his aerial ability is commendable, he probably looks better out wide where he’s got more room to dribble.
Marc McNulty: 5
Didn’t get into the game, and in truth he was more effective as an energetic harrier of Watford’s defence in the first when - to his credit - he managed to force a few errors. Had one chance of note, blazing over from Gunter’s cross, but didn’t worry a Premier League defence all that much.
Josh Sims: 6
Looked bright, but wasn’t involved enough to be given a higher mark - although that was always going to be tough given the severe inadequacies of the rest of the team in the second half.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Gave Reading some attacking impetus down the left after he replace Richards, driving forwards nicely, although it didn’t come to anything.
Sam Baldock: 5
Didn’t get into the game. No impact - but spared from a lower mark as the damage had already been done by the time he got onto the pitch.
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