It was very much a case of the ‘September blues’ for Reading as, after a fairly positive opening period to the campaign, they came back down to earth with a four-game winless run (five in total including August’s defeat to Charlton Athletic).
In the Championship, the Royals began the month in 16th, but lost to Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers before snatching a last-minute equaliser at Swansea City, meaning we enter October sitting 20th - three points above the relegation zone. There was a late goal in the Carabao Cup against Wolves too which took our third-round tie against the Premier League side to a penalty shoot-out, which we duly lost.
Based on our weekly ratings, we’ve put together the below four-man shortlist for September’s Player of the Month. We’ve excluded those who played fewer than three of the four games so that it’s only those who appeared regularly that are in contention.
In alphabetical order...
Average rating: 6.25 (4 appearances)
Man of the match awards: None
August’s Player of the Month couldn’t quite match his electric start to the season, but was still an important part of the midfield and would be noticeably missed if absent. His composure on the ball is a real asset for Reading, and if Jose Gomes wants to pursue a possession based system then Ejaria will be key.
Despite struggling when the Royals were chasing all three Championship games in September, he made a great impact as a substitute against Wolves as he helped the team find their feet against their Premier League opponents and equalise at the death.
Average rating: 6.33 (3 appearances)
Man of the match awards: Swansea A (2nd)
Rafael may not have won any Man of the Match awards, but perhaps that shows how we have simply come to expect reliable and assured performances from the Brazilian goalkeeper. Achieving that in such a short space of time is hugely impressive, especially considering he had played just six games in four years prior to joining Reading.
You can’t really fault him for any of the goals we conceded in September, while he made important saves in each game to ensure the defeats weren’t thrashings. Joao Virginia’s error against Wolves reinforced how Rafael is the best goalkeeper we have by some distance.
Average rating: 6.75 (4 appearances)
Man of the match awards: Middlesbrough A (1st), Wolves A (1st), Blackburn H (3rd), Swansea A (3rd)
We haven’t seen Swift this consistent since his first few months at Reading. The 24-year-old adds a touch of class to the midfield, while he’s also the team’s go-to creative spark - no player in the Championship has made more chances this season.
September saw Swift get his second goal of the campaign with a well-taken low drive into the bottom corner against Blackburn, as well as his fifth assist - a beautiful, gorgeous, sexy rabona cross to set up Lucas Boye’s header equaliser against Wolves. In the 99th minute no less.
Average rating: 6.67 (3 appearances)
Man of the match awards: Blackburn H (1st), Swansea A (1st), Middlesbrough A (3rd)
One of the players who has undoubtedly benefited the most from Reading’s switch to a back three is Andy Yiadom, who is loving life as a wing-back. The Ghanaian international gets forward well down the right-hand side, stretching the play and putting a number of dangerous crosses into the box. His willingness to attack was even rewarded with a goal in September - an excellent first time finish to equalise late on against Swansea City.
The only problem with all of this is that it leaves Reading vulnerable defensively - an issue that Yiadom and/or Jose Gomes must sort out.
Vote for your player of the month
Use the poll below to vote for your September 2019 player of the month. If it doesn’t show up, you can go through this link right here.