Right, this is just getting silly now. Eight games in, seven wins, 15 goals scored, three goals conceded, 22 points. This start has been truly ridiculous, and so much more than any Reading fan could’ve dreamed about.
I’m not going to say anything in this prelude to the fans reaction that hasn’t already been said, but it’s just such a good feeling to see our team playing the way they are. There are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe just how well Pauno has done. His recruitment has been spot on, and he’s kept the players level-headed and professional without hindering their freedom to play in an expansive way.
The sheer joy and delight of seeing the team at the summit of the league is, though, nearly matched by the deflation of not being able to be in the stadiums to see them on this run of form. But, hopefully sooner rather than later that’ll change, and we’re still up towards the top of the table when that does happen.
The fans were in an excited mood once again after what was probably the best performance of the season so far, and who can blame them?
It was hard to pick out just three key talking points, but I’ve done my best...
The Rino and Laurent partnership
As football fans over the last couple of decades, we’ve been privileged to witness some imperious midfield duos. Xavi and Iniesta, Scholes and Keane, De Bruyne and David Silva, Sidwell and Harper. Now, we can add Andy Rinomhota and Josh Laurent to that list.
These two have instantly clicked, and their games compliment each other so well. Rinomhota brings the relentless running and energy (honestly, he’s probably still doing laps of Ewood Park now) while Laurent brings the game awareness and is basically just a brick wall.
The fans have fallen in love with these two, and it’s not hard to see why...
Just spoke to my friend and we’ve agreed Josh Laurent is signing of the entire window prove me wrong. Got him on a free and been our Danny Williams replacement we’ve need for years #readingfc— Joshua Williams (@Jwills40) October 28, 2020
Laurent is better than Zidane ever was #ReadingFC— James Davies (@Jamie_1871) October 27, 2020
Laurent is the Williams replacement we’ve been needing for the last few years. Team spirit, fight and passion. Some signing #readingfc pic.twitter.com/GBIu3K4aKk— George (@GS_1871) October 27, 2020
Just how good are Semedo, Laurent and Rinomhota in that midfield tonight as well #readingfc— Joshua Lamb (@lambeyyy1871) October 27, 2020
Early days but Rino/Laurent = Sidwell/Harper and Richards/Esteves = Shorey/Murty? #ReadingFC #calmdown— Steve Double (@Steve1871) October 27, 2020
Laurent is by far my favourite signing in a long time. He’s like Danny Williams but better #readingfc— cameron macken (@ronniemac93) October 27, 2020
We're quite renown for producing some academy talent, with the likes of Shane Long, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Alex McCarthy all going on to become mainstays in the Premier League, to name a few. But this kid, he could turn out to be the best of the lot.
That might sound like a big statement when Olise is still so young, but he has talent coming out of ears and is starting to turn that talent into seriously good, consistent performances. He can go right to the very top, he’s honestly that good.
Ewood Park was his dance floor on Tuesday evening, as he ran rings around the Rovers team. The fans certainly appreciate his talent...
For people that don’t know... here you see the Michael Olise Stadium. #readingfc pic.twitter.com/5EKLqrKuHe— Jamie (@dingfcjamie) October 28, 2020
So you got all this hype about Harvey Elliot, when it olise everyone should be talking about unplayable last night #readingfc— Connor hardy (@connorhardy7) October 28, 2020
What a brilliant game, end to end. Michael Olise is becoming a problem, 18 years old, kids got a ridiculous amount of ability #readingfc #rovers— KizzleRicks (@KieranBarrett66) October 27, 2020
We need to start sorting out some contracts for Olise, Richards etc. #ReadingFC— Jamie Hodder (@Jamie_Hodder21) October 27, 2020
Olise is genuinely worth £40m #readingfc— Alex (@LoftyDNB) October 27, 2020
Michael Olise is what I was expecting Danny Loader to be #ReadingFC— Lee Richards (@Lee_Richards1) October 27, 2020
Olise is going to end up at Real Madrid at this rate #readingfc— Michael Hunter (@Michael_BHunter) October 27, 2020
Michael Olise is something else. Absolute Rolls Royce. Quality so far! #ReadingFC— Stanley Staines (@Stainsey95) October 27, 2020
xG, or expected goals if you’re not familiar with this new wave of forensic-style statistics. I class myself as a football nerd. I have a severe addiction to Football Manager and I love delving deeper into the nooks and crannies of the game.
But, ultimately, the only stat that matters is the number next to your club’s name in the ‘points’ column of the league table. Reading have had the xG paper ball thrown at them for a few weeks now, but we’re on 22 points after 8 games.
The xG army have had it in for us a bit, claiming that our performances mean we will dramatically drop down the league table sooner rather than later. Look, that may well happen, but for as long as it isn’t happening, the fans are enjoying rubbing it in the faces of the statistic gurus...
Up the xG 'ding. #ReadingFC— Matheus na Casa (@maffff) October 28, 2020
xG #lol #readingfc https://t.co/NtF9pBL0u8— Max (@maxashley01) October 28, 2020
Flipping all this xG nonsense on its head, is there a keeper in the Championship who has saved a shot from a Reading player this season? #readingfc— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) October 28, 2020
This xG stuff really grates me. We’ve never been behind all season, which is why our ‘xG’ is lower. Always defending a lead. Last night you could see when we want to move forward we can create chances for fun. xG will go up when we need to attack. #readingfc— Jimmy Coulson (@Jimmy_Coulson) October 28, 2020
4 shots 4 goals. Stick your Xg up yourselves, top of the league #readingfc— micah (@1871MTE) October 27, 2020
Best defence in the league, 2nd best attack in the league. But Xg will tell you we should be bottom. #readingfc— micah (@1871MTE) October 27, 2020
Where the xG mafia at ♂️ #readingfc— KizzleRicks (@KieranBarrett66) October 27, 2020
Apparently 15 goals in 8 matches is not a good scoring rate.— Pedro Ventura (@1pedroventura1) October 27, 2020
Love this xG conversation when people start talking about what they really don't know. Twitter i guess ♂️#readingfc will be the subject of math thesis (or two) https://t.co/c2uAq3PPYM
It’s a superb start, but I will keep saying this until I’m Royal Blue in the face - a good start is all it is. Yes, 22 points at this stage of the season is great, but we’re eight games in and have 38 games left. I for one am refusing to get ahead of myself, it could seriously come back to bite us.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t fallen head over heals in love with Paunovic and this team - in particular Josh Laurent - because, trust me, I have. But, I urge fans to stay as grounded as possible. I know it’s hard.