January was a much better month for Reading, at least going by performances. Although we only picked up the one win - a 2-0 triumph over Nottingham Forest at home - you get the sense that the Royals are gradually improving under Jose Gomes.
Individual displays have been better too. In fact, going by our player ratings, Reading’s January comes out at an average of 5.78 - just higher than September’s 5.72. That may only look like a small difference, but over the course of an entire month, it does indicate that things have been picking up, at least enough for us to hand out some higher scores.
Now it’s time for you to have your say on Reading’s star performers - who do you think did best in the blue and white hoops? We’ve put together a shortlist of four players for you to choose from, and added in some extra info to help you decide - their TTE average ratings and any relevant man of the match awards.
Note that the games we’re including here are Swansea, Manchester United, Forest, Derby and Bolton - the Aston Villa game came at the start of February. Make sure to vote at the bottom of the article.
Average rating: 6.50 (4 appearances); Man of the Match awards: Manchester United (3rd)
Despite not winning any man of the match awards last month, Moore generally performed at a high standard, with his 6.5/10 average the highest of anyone to make more than two appearances. That said, it helps that he didn’t play in the 4-1 thrashing by Swansea City...
Even so, he’s quietly gone about his job, not only having to defend but also bringing the ball out from the back when needed. He’s now got to adjust to playing alongside a new partner, Matt Miazga, so here’s hoping he manages to do that.
Average rating: 6.4 (5 appearances); Man of the Match awards: Nottingham Forest (1st), Derby County (3rd)
An impressive month for a player who’s looking increasingly comfortable and confident on the ball in Gomes’ new system. He’s lined up both as a deep-lying playmaker and an advanced one during the last few weeks, looking pretty good in both. It was however in the latter role that he put in his best performance; scoring and looking dangerous against Forest in the 2-0 win.
Average rating: 6.4 (5 appearances); Man of the Match awards: Swansea City (1st), Manchester United (1st), Nottingham Forest (2nd)
The academy graduate has been an ever-present for Reading in the last couple of months, whether in centre midfield or at right back, showing his versatility. He’s tended to impress more in the middle of the park though, where he’s taken well to lining up as a defensive midfielder - rather than the box-to-box player he had been previously.
Average rating: 6.25 (4 appearances); Man of the Match awards: Derby County (1st)
Congratulations are in order for Sone Aluko who won his first ever Tilehurst End man of the match award. You can stick that on your CV, Sone. On the whole, he looks like a man reborn under Jose Gomes, and is full of confidence in a more possession-focussed, attack-minded system.
The goalscoring performance against Derby County was arguably his best in a Reading shirt, but he’s also looked lively against Manchester United and Bolton Wanderers. Like Swift and Rinomhota he’s not been confined to one position, instead switching between the roles of number ten and winger.
Vote for your player of the month below, or through this link.