Luke Southwood: 7
A third clean sheet in four games for Southwood, who is now firmly first choice goalkeeper. He had a fairly comfortable afternoon, but still pulled off several strong saves when he needed to.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Back in his natural right-back position, Yiadom relished getting forward and was the main threat down that flank given the absence of a natural winger. He was apparently close to missing the game through injury, but you couldn’t tell.
Liam Moore: 6
If you don’t really notice a centre-back it usually means they’ve had a relatively decent game and that was the case with Moore today. He didn’t stand out but he got his job done with no fuss and no nervy moments.
Scott Dann: 8
These summer signings have proved pretty bloody good, huh? Dann has taken a while to get up to speed but started for the first time today and was imperious. Defensively he was faultless, but then he turned into prime Andrea Pirlo and produced the pass of the season to set up the goal. Came close to scoring himself in the first half with a header, proving his value at set pieces.
Baba Rahman: 6
I was close to giving Rahman a five, but decided that was on the harsh side given his endeavour and energy. He’s clearly a real threat on the left flank and loves to get forward, but his final ball was lacking today. I’m also not completely sold on him defensively, as he was slightly weak at times and left plenty of room for Barnsley right wing-back Callum Brittain to exploit (although wasn’t helped by Ejaria’s lack of defensive work).
Josh Laurent: 5
Moved back into midfield and surprisingly looked a little out of sorts. Gave the ball away cheaply on a couple of occasions and just couldn’t really seem to get into the game despite plenty of effort. Improved when he switched with Dele-Bashiru out wide in the closing stages.
Danny Drinkwater: 7
Sorry Danny I wrote you off far too soon. Drinkwater has showed his class and pedigree every time he has stepped on the pitch for Reading and he’s clearly relishing playing regular football again. He’s the perfect fit for the holding role, as he’s there to make crucial interceptions but then also has the composure and vision to get the team forward with precise passes. He’s always talking and organising his teammates too, which makes him a real asset.
Tom Dele-Bashiru: 5
A square peg in a round hole on the right wing and hopefully something we don’t have to see too often this season. Like with Laurent, the late switch in position helped him and he had more of an impact in the middle of the park where he was missed for the rest of the game.
John Swift: 7
Swift had a pretty quiet game by his standards, but when you need a bit of brilliance he is the one to turn to. Took his goal expertly, showing excellent pace to drive in from the left wing, before he shrugged off the defender and went past the goalkeeper, allowing him to score his eighth goal of the season.
Ovie Ejaria: 5
Certainly not anonymous on the left wing, but it was a game he struggled to fully plant his influence on. Sometimes Ejaria tries to take on too much when the simple option is often the best one. Needs to contribute more defensively too, given how attacking Rahman is.
George Puscas: 6
Still no goal, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. There appeared to be a real hunger about Puscas which we don’t always see - he seemed more determined in 50/50 duels and made some promising runs which didn’t quite come off. There’s a decent striker in there.
Femi Azeez: 6
Great to see him back and he was pretty lively when he came on. Lacked the composure to put away a big chance at 0-0 when put through on goal by Swift, but hopefully that side of his game improves with time.
Who was your man of the match against Barnsley? Vote below or through this link.