So poor for the first goal. The chance shouldn’t have gone Brentford’s way that easily in the first place, but it was a perfectly saveable attempt that Rafael just needed to get his body behind, but let it slip through him. Otherwise didn’t have too much to do bar pick the ball out of his net twice, but that really bad error set the tone for Reading’s first half.
Tom Holmes: 6
Decent showing at right back and saved a sure-fire goal for Brentford at 3-1 when he put in an excellent challenge to cut out the danger in his own area.
Michael Morrison: 5
I wouldn’t have him down as the primary reason for the first goal, but he really needed to be getting closer to Jensen before he shoots.
Liam Moore: 5
At fault for Brentford’s third when he was caught out of position. Didn’t read Mbeumo being about to shift onto his stronger left foot so committed to closing down the Brentford man’s right foot, leaving space for the shot. Came pretty close in the first half with a strong volley from a corner.
Tomas Esteves: 5
Given an unfamiliar left-back role in the absence of Omar Richards and Lewis Gibson, and never really looked that comfortable. Poor position in relation to Mbeumo for the second goal, putting him off balance so he couldn’t get across to stop the shot. Should have been expecting the left-footed forward to cut inside.
Going forwards I’d have liked to see him be more adventurous with the ball at his feet and drive through the middle more often. Involved in the build-up for Reading’s goal when he managed to push all the way into the Brentford box.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Should have tracked Ivan Toney better in the build-up to Brentford’s third, but let him go, meaning room for the striker to run at Reading’s penalty area.
Josh Laurent: 5
I initially had him down as a 6/10, but on rewatching the first goal, he’s at fault. With Holmes and Rinomhota committed on the right, it’s Laurent that needs to spot the danger of Jensen’s run and close the Bees man down, but he makes no effort to do so. Frustrating as reading the danger in such a fashion is usually his strength; perhaps he was expecting Rinomhota to get back.
In possession he was one of Reading’s better players. Looked composed and confident in the middle again and added some bright moments going forwards. Really good work down the right in the build-up to a Semedo chance at 1-0, and had his own later in the half, forcing a smart save from David Raya.
Alfa Semedo: 5
Played on the left of central midfield in a 4-3-3 and looked more at home there than when he’s played as a number 10 recently. Didn’t really impact the game enough though, and when he had a really good chance at 1-0 that should have at least worked the goalkeeper, he didn’t get enough power behind his shot. Best moment was probably a quick throw to set Baldock free in the build-up to an Ejaria chance. Withdrawn for Aluko around an hour in.
Sam Baldock: 5
A lack of service, let alone good service, meant Baldock didn’t have a good opportunity to get into the game. Finished the match with no shots, although he did set up Ejaria for one opportunity.
Baldock’s got promise when Reading try to press though. He was - again - typically energetic when Reading were out of possession and almost managed to nick the ball back for a one-on-one chance in the first half. In the future he needs more service in behind and to not play as a right winger.
Michael Olise: 6
Created Reading’s goal with a lovely cross from the left that Aluko nodded home, but otherwise didn’t create that much against a Brentford defence that was happy to sit in for much of the game. Initially deployed as a centre forward in Reading’s 4-3-3, and he looked to be working hard off the ball as part of the Royals’ press. Torn between a 5/10 and 6/10 but I went for the higher one as I’m feeling festive.
Ovie Ejaria: 6
Looked pretty sharp on the left of Reading’s front three and played some good stuff at times, creating two chances in the first half, but overall lacked cutting edge in the final third, particularly in the second half. Had two good chances after the break but put both straight at the keeper when he really should have done better.
Sone Aluko: 6
You know 2020 is a weird year when Aluko not only scores, but scores a header. Did really well to guide his effort across Raya. Didn’t otherwise have enough of an impact in the final third.
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