Reading followed up Mark Bowen’s first defeat of his reign at Brentford with the visit of high-flying Leeds, who were looking to go back to the top of the table.
It was an attritional game, with Reading working hard to blunt what has been a lively Leeds attack this season. In the end it was frustrating not to get a point from the game. The views from the Leeds fans seem to be that we should have come out and played an open expansive game to allow them to run through us.
In reality this was a decent defensive display and yes we didn’t create a lot and looked a bit blunt up top, but we are also in the lower reaches of the table and every point is precious. How you get it is largely irrelevant.
This Leeds side does look better than last season’s, and I truly look forward to their annual end of season #BottleJob
Annual meltdown incoming?
Get through the festive season and we’re laughing. Can’t see anyone other than Fulham catching us and WBA #LUFC— Nathan Clark (@Nathan_Clark8) November 26, 2019
It’s only Ovie!
Who was the Reading number 14 in centre midfield for them tonight? Some player by the way! I don’t think we were as bad as what people are saying just struggled to break the two banks of four down! #rfc #lufc— Jay Wright (@Jaywright1988) November 26, 2019
Most fans would be thrilled if their team was in our position, but given that we collapsed like a house of cards in a hurricane last season, I’m refusing to get too excited #LUFC pic.twitter.com/ytjf4mlTEQ— The K is Silent (@JoeandEvansDad) November 26, 2019
Good god a Leeds fan speaking sense
Great breakaway goal to win the game tonight. Reading were well drilled and nothing was a given tonight. Ben White superb again. #lufc— Jamie Collins (@LUJC83) November 26, 2019
We both had two shots on target?
When was the last time you were in the Premier League?
Enjoyed that! Hate coming to Reading. One of the best things about getting out of the Championship would be not having to come to the most pointless club in world football. #lufc https://t.co/eMTnagOydT— Jonny Howard (@Jonny__Howard) November 26, 2019
Oh sorry shall we play to lose?
New song for Jack Harrison— LUFC Choir Practice (@LUFC_Choir) November 26, 2019
Bon Jovi - Bad Medicine
You wish you had Jack Harrison.
Jack Harrison is what you need.
Whooah oh oh.
Shake it up just like Jack Harrison.
He left Man City to come play here at Leeds.
Jaaaack. Jaaaack. Harrison.#LUFC
Um just no
Ben White & Kalvin Phillips should be starting for England #lufc— Dan Samme (@DanSamme) November 26, 2019
Again what are we meant to do?
Squeaky bum time there, don’t agree with Sky commentators saying reading should feel hard done by, they’ve not gone out to win the game at all, wanted 0-0, or smash and grab win. Boring team who didn’t deserve anything from that.— Talk About Leeds (@talkaboutlufc) November 26, 2019
Try try and try again! #LUFC #MOT
Leading the way this week is Berkshire Live with an astonishing rant by Noel Whelan over the style of Reading’s play. It seems to be that we should have come out and let Leeds walk all over us!
Football League World has a large amount of coverage around the game, with the highlight for me being the section on Ovie Ejaria who seemingly impressed the Leeds fans who have been calling for Kalvin Philips to get an England call up! This is Futbol also have coverage on Ben White’s performance, again thinking he should get an England call up (ok let’s just play every English Leeds player).
The Yorkshire Evening post has a few articles, even one with Yakou Meite saying how disappointing it was to lose the game (no s**t), and they also have a match report which can be found here. To be fair they are actually complementary to Reading and say that Leeds’ play was “riddled” with mistakes.
The beauty of the internet and social media is that basically anyone can put an article up and say what they like (Editor’s note: they sure can - send us an email at email@example.com if you want to do one about Reading).
This is an example of basically a rant in response to this piece from The Square Ball. OK so Reading might not have the history of Leeds, or a fan base that seems that they have a divine right to promotion, but basically having a go at “dirge concepts” is a little boring. The expectation that we shouldn’t put on a defensive show against a top-two team is ludicrous and, being frank, Leeds might get a lot more warmness from other clubs if they didn’t charge frankly obscene ticket prices.
Back to normality and the Telegraph are all about how bad Leeds played and Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics. Similarly down at the Express it’s basically all about the goal and the build-up to it. They have interviews with Harrison and Bielsa, but limit any interaction to Reading to: we turned up.
The Mirror doesn’t really have a match report, more of comments from Bielsa about not getting carried away (as if Leeds fans would!). The only comments about the game is that Leeds had double the shots and the lion’s share of possession but did little with it.
Sky Sports have 2.03 minutes of video and you do have to say that Meite header and the scramble in the Leeds box should have both been converted as they are gilt-edged opportunities. The report echoes that - they give mention to Meite’s header and also the “thunderous” drive from Stuart Dallas which hit the bar.
Brentford and Leeds in succession were always going to be a challenge, and while the results weren’t what we wanted the performances were not terrible.
We did have to deal with a couple of enforced changes, with Andy Yiadom serving a ban and Meite in for the injured Sam Baldock. Chris Gunter coming back into the team polarised the fan base, however what you got was a standard decent Gunter performance with a decent showing defensively and a limited attack. He didn’t do anything wrong though and actually gave a lot better performance than Omar Richards on the left.
Meite on the other hand - personally I wouldn’t have started this game with him. I haven’t been overly impressed with him this season and neither him nor Puscas are setting the world alight. Saying that, they didn’t have an awful lot to work with, which for me is why having a slightly more creative player in Boye behind them might have been the better option.
What has happened now though with the two defeats is that the next run of games starting with Wigan are all winnable. Taking nine points from these might give us some breathing space and help us push to the ideal of mid-table obscurity.
This however will entail our misfiring strikeforce to start banging the goals in. If they don’t then Christmas may not be as wonderful as we would all like. With January around the corner, it will be interesting to see how much, if any, money Bowen has to spend.