It looks a harsh score given that Reading earned a clean sheet against a very good side, but in all honesty, Rafa didn’t have that much to do. Just two shots on target meant it was a relatively straightforward afternoon for him, and he had an excellent display from the defence and midfield to thank.
Tom Holmes: 8
An encouraging first full match at right back for Holmes. Although he found it difficult at times with Watford having some joy getting in behind down his side, he gets bumped up to an 8/10 for the assist.
He even came up with a few moments in the final third. Besides setting up Puscas with a pass into feet for the goal, he also linked up well with Aluko to fire over the bar, and later put in a beautiful cross in for Puscas.
Michael Morrison: 8
A man mountain at the back again. Brings so much to this side with his leadership and experience, and that again paid off with a clean sheet. Great stuff.
Liam Moore: 8
Same as Morrison. The centre-back duo had a lot to deal with, going up against a quality Watford front line, but they managed it excellently. Great leadership from Captain Moore who’s responded so well to Pauno’s arrival.
Omar Richards: 8
Another really mature performance from Richards who looked cool as ice at left back. Kept it solid on that side throughout the game and used the ball well.
Andy Rinomhota: 7
Worked his socks off in the middle, winning the ball back time and again to ensure Watford found it difficult to get going.
Josh Laurent: 7
Same as Rinomhota. This pairing gives Reading plenty of energy and strength in the middle, without surrendering skill on the ball. What a signing he’s been on a free.
Yakou Meite: 7
I often find myself deeply frustrated by Meite’s lack of impact on games from open play, but that was nowhere to be seen against Watford. Meite’s work rate was great and he used the ball intelligently.
Sone Aluko: 8
One of his best all-round performances for Reading. Fantastic work rate off the ball and kept possession really nicely, even when under pressure. Playing as a number ten this time, his technical ability, situational intelligence and maturity meant Reading could retain possession higher up the pitch more effectively.
Although he didn’t score or create a goal, he could well have done with his really dangerous free kicks. Game-changing performance for a man that’s been widely written off.
Michael Olise: 5
An off day from Olise who gave the ball away cheaply a few times and didn’t get into the match enough. His only major contribution was to fire over from a Meite pass in the first half. Not that bad, but wasn’t up to the high standards of his teammates.
George Puscas: 7
An excellent all-round performance from Puscas who scrapped like a terrier in his lone-striker role. Made himself a real nuisance to harry the Watford defence and win niggly fouls himself, which hugely helped Reading’s game management. Came up with the goods at the end of the first half with a deflected finish.
We’ve all debated for so long whether or not Puscas can play as a lone striker. On the basis of that performance, he’s got it in his locker. More of the same please George.
Tom McIntyre: 7
Reading’s lack of cover on the bench meant that he came on as a number 10 (yes, really) when he replaced Olise. Made himself a nuisance there, even if he understandably didn’t contribute much going forwards. In one key moment at the back, he dealt with a dangerous ball at the back post before calmly taking his time and whacking it upfield.
Dejan Tetek: N/A
Came on too late to get a grade. His only contribution was to get a bizarre yellow card before Chalobah tried to start a fight with him. That’s his second appearance for Reading now, and his first in the league, and hopefully there are plenty more to come.
Who was your man of the match against Watford? Vote below or through this link.