With fear in abundance over whether or not there will be any fans in the Madejski Stadium to watch Reading take on Stoke on Saturday, perhaps you should be more worried about attending it than annoyed about not being allowed to go.
No, I’m not talking about Covid-19 when I mention about the risks imposed on crowds, I’m talking about the risks of watching an appallingly dire game of football. It may be a blessing in disguise if we all end up having to find some other way of spending our Saturday afternoons.
Why, you ask? Well to be honest, games with Stoke have thrown up some pretty shocking encounters in recent years for Reading. Not only have we failed to beat the Potters in our last six league and cup meetings stretching back to 2006, but the entertainment value has also been low.
Of course, how can we all forget the no-shots-on-target ‘match’ of December last year. But the four meetings before that have also been slim picking for Reading’s attack too. In fact, the highest amount of shots on target by Reading during the last five matches with Stoke has been just three, coming in the 2-2 draw in December 2018.
Across these five games, Reading have managed on average just 1.6 shots on target, converting these into a total of just four goals.
On top of the likelihood of not seeing a high scoring affair, with four of the last five meetings ending as draws, it may be largely an irrelevant affair too, with a share of the spoils not really helping either side as one aims to get away from the relegation zone and the other aims for a top-half finish.
Plus, we haven’t even mentioned that the last two games finished 0-0…
As if the two teams don’t like drawing enough, they are even drawing in their overall head to head record! With 16 wins each and 15 draws over 93 years of league matches, the Royals and Potters can’t seem to be separated.
However, to finish on a slightly more positive note, the one chink of silver lining ahead of what will undeniably be a draw is that Reading are undefeated against Stoke since 1998 at home, which came in the FA Cup. The last league defeat by Stoke at Reading happened in 1992, which means Stoke have never won a league match at the Madejski Stadium.