A pretty quiet afternoon for Rafael, who mostly just had to stay in control of his box and deal with long-range efforts that came his way. Probably the biggest scare was a low ball across goal in the early stages that he dealt with well before Richards cleared.
Andy Yiadom: 7
Got forward well down the right, and on the whole looked confident in an attacking sense. He essentially created the second goal, with his long-range strike converted by George Puscas, hence being bumped up to a 7/10. Defensively, he had a tough time at points, but wasn’t overly exposed.
Michael Morrison: 6
Solid at the back again. He’s looked more vulnerable in recent weeks when he’s had the ball at his feet more, thereby inviting pressure and causing problems for Reading’s defence. But the midfield taking more responsibility creatively, and forwards Puscas and Meite being better targets to hit, made Morrison’s life easier.
Liam Moore: 6
One worrying moment in the second half when he let a pass forward bounce over his head, allowing a Wednesday forward in to fire into the side netting, but overall he was solid against a poor home side. Also put in some key defensive moments, including blocking a cross in agile fashion in the second half at 1-0.
Omar Richards: 6
Looked a little shaky early on when Wednesday targeted his side of the defence to exploit his relative lack of strength, but he grew into the game nicely. Important clearance early on from a low cross that could have given the hosts a 1-0 lead.
John Swift: 7
Mostly played as the deepest midfielder on the day, particularly when Reading were in possession and looking to start attacks from the back. He did have a few nervy moments, such as passing straight at a Wednesday player and almost gifting them a one on one - only for the ball to bounce back to him safely,
But on the whole he took to that deep-lying role well, showing the all-round maturity that he’s developed so well this season (and had gone off the boil in recent weeks). He also was capable of some confident driving runs forward, which helped put Reading on the counter, particularly in the first half.
Andy Rinomhota: 7
Going into the game, the expectation was that Rinomhota would take up Pele’s screening role in front of the midfield, but in reality he pushed up while Swift was more withdrawn. That’s a better use of Rinomhota, who doesn’t have the same ability to read the play as Pele, and indeed Reading lacked that at times.
But Rinomhota made up for it with intensity and energy - qualities that no one else in this midfield has. He won the ball back well and kept it nicely, with the more complicated stuff done by Swift, although it was Rinomhota who won the penalty late on with a run inside the area.
The dynamism for him to push forward gives Reading an extra element - and of course we saw it against West Brom when he rounded the goalie, albeit to no effect. Pele’s injury means Rinomhota will almost certainly start at Leeds next week, which will be a tough - but big - opportunity for him to properly stake a claim to play more regularly.
Yakou Meite: 7
Meite was on paper a right winger in a 4-2-3-1, but his movement when Reading were attacking meant he was at times essentially a centre forward. That movement helped Reading out a lot, both in terms of support for Puscas and allowing Meite to be a goalscoring threat in his own right.
He got into double figures for the second season in a row with a great example of that movement, timing his run in behind well and slotting past the goalie.
Michael Olise: 6
A quiet but tidy performance. Olise played as a number ten this time, but had the freedom to drift around the pitch when Reading were in possession, and his movement at those points made the midfield feel a lot more dynamic and fluid.
His biggest moment came in the first half, when he was hacked down in the area and should have won a penalty. Otherwise, he could have worked harder, but I didn’t have any major worries with his performance, and to paraphrase the manager after the Nottingham Forest game, Olise can be “trusted” in the first team. He’s still only 18, and is maturing really well.
Ovie Ejaria: 8
Back to his best. Ejaria oozed the confidence and positivity that we’d come to expect of him previously, but had been lost in the last month or so. As much as getting the most out of him is a tactical issue - I prefer him on the left, which I’ve banged on about ad infinitum - his confidence is more critical.
With that confidence back, he properly put a show on at Hillsborough. Ejaria’s close control and dribbling were at times sublime, but he also managed to rid himself of the tendency to overplay that’s held him back recently.
That doesn’t even touch on the assist, which was Ejaria at peak power. He strode forward powerfully through the middle, looked up for an option, spotted Meite’s infield run and found it with an incisive pass. We know he’s capable of that end product - he just needs to show it more often.
He also played a big part in the red card, being brought down by Urhoghide for a second yellow card, and should have scored when presented with a one on one at 2-0.
George Puscas: 7
I would have given him an 8/10 if his involvement in the first two goals had been more clear cut, but he did do well for both. For the opener, he cleverly left Ejaria’s through ball for Meite, which seemed to wrong-foot his own marker. In real time I thought it was a dummy from Puscas, but on seeing it back, that would have been too kind. For the second goal, he got the slightest touch on Andy Yiadom’s long-range effort to divert the ball home.
Otherwise, his all-round game was noticeably better. He was sharper on the ball, brought others into play nicely when he wasn’t looking for the ball in behind, and on the whole put himself about well.
Charlie Adam: 6
Kept things tidy in the midfield without really making too much of an impact. Having someone with his experience to come on when a lead needs to be protected is a big asset.
Sam Baldock: N/A
Unfortunately he came on too late to get a rating, but he still buried his penalty convincingly to make it 2-0.
Ayub Timbe: N/A
Only had a few touches of the ball in his cameo on the left, and mostly played it safe. He did have one rapid run when he knocked the ball past his defender and chased after it, but his electric pace wasn’t quite enough for him to get there.
Who was your man of the match against Sheffield Wednesday? Vote below or through this link.