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Reading vs Norwich City: Match Preview

Despite Norwich’s poor away form, they’ll be no pushovers at the Mad Stad.

Norwich City v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Reading fans finally rejoiced on Saturday when the Royals came out 3-2 winners against Preston North End! After an end to end game, Paul Clement’s men edged the win and ended a gruelling winless run. It was the perfect gift on my 22nd birthday, to finally see Reading winning and playing some attractive football!

We are now back at home to continue the party under the lights against an in-form Norwich City side hoping to gate-crash the early celebrations. The Canaries have a recent history of putting a few goals past Reading which some of the squad must still have nightmares about! Will the Royals still be drunk on that long-awaited win or can the party continue?

Reading

Form: LDDLW (all competitions)

Sam Walker looks set to continue in goal after his impressive Championship debut against Preston, with Vito Mannone side-lined through injury. Paul Clement does not have any new injury concerns coming away from the weekend, but he can now call upon new signing Saeid Ezatolahi after receiving Visa clearance over the weekend. However, the Iranian midfielder will likely be on the bench with Leandro Bacuna and Liam Kelly playing well on Saturday.

Clement will likely keep the same team and formation baring any late injury scares. Top goalscorer Jon Dadi Bodvarsson could be partnered with Sam Baldock up front if the manager does change his mind due to the forward’s recent scoring form. However, Bodvarsson will more likely make a cameo off the bench. Josh Sims is also knocking on the door for a start after bright spells in recent week, including setting up the winner for Bacuna against Preston.

Top goalscorer: Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (3)

Norwich City

Form: LWWDW (all competitions)

Norwich’s captain Grant Hanley is missing for the Canaries through an injury picked up in their win against Middlesbrough. Daniel Farke’s side have had a patchy start to the season facing strong sides such as Leeds United, coupled with losing influential players in the transfer window such as James Maddison.

However, since the window closed, they have picked up results and remained unbeaten in all competitions since August 28. One to watch will be Teemu Pukki who had been linked with a move to the Royals over the summer. The Finnish striker is already on four goals for the season and could test the Royals’ defence with his pace and trickery.

Top goalscorer: Teemu Pukki (4)

Quick-fire facts

  • Against Norwich, Reading have lost three league games in a row, conceding 12 goals in the process! Their last win was on Boxing Day 2016 with a 3-1 victory at the Mad Stad.
  • Speaking of goals, 29 have been scored between Reading and Norwich in their last seven encounters! Both goalkeepers will be very busy and adamant to keep a clean sheet!
  • Reading’s start to the season of five points from seven games mirrors their lowest return in their second tier history - which came in 1997-98. That season ended in relegation which we obviously don’t want to happen!
  • Norwich meanwhile have not won an away game in 11 matches which sounds very familiar to Reading last weekend against Preston!

Prediction

Both teams come into the game with a win under their belt and confidence high. However, Reading hold home advantage against Norwich’s poor away form. The Canaries do have the squad to roll teams over with ease - on paper - but playing away from home has not brought them results.

Reading are prone to throwing a game away at the death so will need to manage the game well and get the fans’ backing in order to gain a mental edge. I can see goals in this fixture with Reading just edging it late on.

Reading 2-1 Norwich City