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Stats Corner: Paul Clement Vs Jose Gomes

How Reading's last two permanent managers compare to each other.

Photos by Alex Burstow and Bryn Lennon/Getty

A lot’s been made in a certain local media outlet (I won’t name names) that Jose Gomes’ first seven matches have not been an improvement on Paul Clement’s time in charge at the club. So it’s worth looking into the stats to compare them properly. Side by side, how different have Gomes’ games been to when Reading faced the same opposition under Clement earlier this season?

To begin with, here’s a quick comparison of the matches Gomes has taken charge of so far and the results that occurred in the reverse fixtures under Paul Clement.

Millwall

Clement: Won 3-1

Gomes: Lost 1-0

QPR

Clement: Lost 1-0

Gomes: Drew 0-0

Swansea

Clement: Lost 2-0

Gomes: Lost 4-1

Nottingham Forest

Clement: Lost 1-0

Gomes: Won 2-0

Derby

Clement: Lost 2-1

Gomes: Lost 2-1

Bolton Wanderers

Clement: Lost 1-0

Gomes: Drew 1-1

Aston Villa

Clement: Drew 1-1

Gomes: Drew 0-0

On first inspection, there’s not too much between the two sets of scorelines. However, look in a bit more detail and it becomes apparent that Gomes’ record just about squeaks ahead of Clement’s. Overall, the former Rio Ave boss has a better points total from these four games and a better goal difference too.

Gomes’ matches also return three clean sheets in comparison to the zero kept by Reading’s defences in the same encounters. In fact, should Reading shut out Sheffield Wednesday this Saturday, then in eight games Gomes will have already kept just one fewer league clean sheets (4) as Paul Clement did in his entire spell as Reading manager (5).

A win away against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday also means Jose Gomes’ start after eight matches would better Paul Clement’s by one point. Fine margins, yes, but a slight improvement is still an improvement overall.

There are other ways in which Reading have improved too, and while I’m sure that possession has gone up under Gomes, I’m not going to focus on that stat as it too often proves a divisive issue among fans over how much it contributes to good performances.

Instead, let’s look at something a bit more basic but is arguably a more important and obvious way of determining overall improvement, and that’s shots. Both for and against. One way in particular Reading have improved is that the shots against them has dramatically gone down in these seven games under Gomes, which is more impressive when you think that he’s had four away games and three home games compared to vice versa under Clement.

Take the Aston Villa game for example. In that game (granted Reading were the away side), Villa had a total of 21 shots at the Reading goal. In comparison, this Saturday that total went down to just 13. This pattern repeats in the Millwall game, where Clement was at home with eleven players on the pitch and Gomes was away with ten for 80 minutes and nine men at the end of it. Under Clement, Millwall had 27 shots, while in the away fixture under Gomes Millwall were limited to just 17.

The pattern continues with Reading’s ‘shots for’.

As you can see, both shots for (marginally) and shots against have improved under Jose Gomes in comparison to the games in which Clement took charge. Again, it’s worth reiterating that Gomes has faced more away games in these seven games than Clement did, thus weighting the odds against our new Portuguese manager. If I had the time, I might analyse why this has happened, but I suppose I could give you the simple answer: possession. But I said I wouldn’t get into that…

Improved possession, and as Westy mentioned on the last podcast, a change in centre midfield, has clearly had an impact as it’s meant we’re facing fewer shots and thus facing less pressure. However, there’s one stat you may have felt I’ve neglected, and that’s goals scored. While everything else has improved, this massive exclamation mark of a stat has stayed the same. To many, all the above won’t matter until we do start scoring, but I suppose all you can hope for is that, if all the other fundamental stats have improved, then this last one will fall into place sooner rather than later.