I don’t think he could have done much more with the Wigan goal - he did save the initial shot before the rebound was blasted past him. Dealt well with a few tricky shots, including one powerful swerving volley in the first half that he palmed away for a corner.
Matt Miazga: 6
Looked pretty comfortable at the back - mostly a quiet afternoon for him bar being whacked in the head by a cannonball free kick from Meite.
Michael Morrison: 6
Like Miazga, a solid afternoon defensively. Looked a little uncomfortable in playing the ball out, but no major issues. Withdrawn in the second half for Joao in a formation change.
Liam Moore: 5
Defensively fine, but for me he needs to improve with his distribution. When playing out from the back, Reading often go through Moore on the left, leaving him with the option of passing into midfield, going long or returning it to the ‘keeper. Against Wigan, Moore too often passed the ball across the back rather than getting rid of it.
How much of that is him and how much is Mark Bowen’s instruction isn’t something I’ll know, but him keeping the ball at the back put Reading under unnecessary pressure too often.
He also took a few direct free kicks in the absence of John Swift but didn’t force a save from the goalie from any of them to my memory.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Looked bright when he got on the ball, but wasn’t involved enough, particularly in the first half. More involved in the second half.
Poor. He was given a chance to show what he can do in the midfield but wasted it, looking far too slow in possession and being bypassed too easily when out of it. Reading looked more urgent and purposeful when he went off.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Reading probably needed Rino to step up the creativity in the absence of John Swift and Ovie Ejaria, but he didn’t do it. His passing was patchy and he wasn’t able to pull off his trademark strong drives up the pitch.
Garath McCleary: 5
Started in Ovie Ejaria’s attacking midfield role at the tip of the midfield three but was anonymous for most of the game, and spurned a chance in the second half when set through on goal by Puscas. Looked better when he was sent to the right wing in a 4-4-2 and got an assist for Puscas’ third, which pushes him up from a 4/10.
Omar Richards: 5
Didn’t do enough going forwards for me, unlike Yiadom who contributed more. Didn’t do too badly at the back, although he was caught out too high up the pitch a few times, and cut out a Wigan attack at 1-0 with a well-timed sliding challenge.
George Puscas: 9
Where the hell did that come from? For 78 minutes, Puscas was putting in the same underwhelming performance we’ve unfortunately come to expect from him in recent weeks. He didn’t get into the game enough, didn’t hold the ball up well and went missing in the final third.
But as soon as he was given an opportunity for redemption from the penalty spot, he burst into life. There’s no better turnaround than a five-minute hat-trick, and Puscas pulled it off in style. After calmly converting his penalty, he doubled his tally with a glorious second, spinning past a defender into space before rifling home. For the third, he converted Garath McCleary’s low cross from close range - the kind of tap in that he would have squandered if he’d been the Puscas of six minutes earlier.
What an afternoon for the Romanian who - hopefully - can now get his season up and running.
Yakou Meite: 4
Didn’t hold the ball up well enough and was wasteful with the ball in the final third, having a go from range a couple of times when he probably shouldn’t have. Blasted a free kick from just outside the area at Matt Miazga’s head in the second half, which was obviously unfortunate for both but harshly summed up his afternoon.
I still don’t think he’s a centre forward, and looks much better as a wide player who can cut in from the right and link up with the strikers, but he was again used as a target man against Wigan and was poor. Didn’t make enough happen himself and didn’t bring others into the game well enough.
Lucas Joao: 6
Replaced Morrison in a change of formation for Reading who went from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2. Linked up with his teammates well and gave the team more forward momentum, although his influence in the final third was lacking. With more creative midfielders to feed him, and more fitness after returning from injury, he should hopefully improve.
Lucas Boye: 6
Looked bright after replacing Meite although his end product wasn’t always there. Did well to win the penalty after a deft flick in the penalty area before being taken out.
Charlie Adam: 6
No complaints for his late cameo, which started in the 78th minute - just before Reading equalised. Put himself about well, and the team generally seemed more urgent when he was on the pitch.
Who was your man of the match against Wigan? Yes, this vote is a bit of a formality but it’s still got to be done...
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