With two wins, one draw and two defeats, Reading had a slightly better February than they did January, which included just the one victory: an FA Cup triumph over Watford. Over the last month, we’ve seen the Royals come from two goals down to draw 2-2 with the Hornets, be edged out at Sunderland and Cardiff City, and secure important home wins against strugglers Rotherham United and Blackpool.
Accordingly the individual performances were better too. Our player-rating average edged up from a meagre 5.34 in January to 5.5 in February, coming out as the fourth-best month of the seven so far (with July and August rolled into one).
So which Royal stood out the most? We’ve put together a shortlist of three candidates for our February player of the month award...
Average rating: 6.00 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Rotherham United H)
A bit of a left-field shout (pun intended), but Azeez came on well for Reading in February by making some key impacts off the bench. He looked sharp in the 2-2 draw with Watford at left-wing-back, and again in the 2-1 win over Rotherham United when he put in two set pieces that directly and indirectly led to goals, before breaking into the starting XI at Cardiff.
Although he didn’t make enough of an impact in South Wales (still better than most others to be fair), Azeez’ status certainly improved in February. While he was previously on the sidelines somewhat, he’s now in contention to a greater extent and looks like a viable attacking option.
Average rating: 6.6 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Watford H), 3rd (Sunderland A), 2nd (Blackpool H)
Going purely by our player ratings, this was Ince’s second best month of the season, having previously come out with an average of 6.75/10 in December. Ince showed more than that though, being his usual creative and hard-working self throughout February.
He also laid on a few important goals, scoring against Watford (penalty) and Blackpool (twice from open play), as well as registering an assist for Jeff Hendrick in that Watford match and playing the pass that led to Yakou Meite winning Andy Carroll’s penalty at home to Blackpool.
Average rating: 6.00 / Man of the match awards: 1st (Sunderland A), 3rd (Cardiff City A)
Mbengue had a quietly effective month for Reading, starting all five matches and looking pretty solid in each. Besides being one of the few to come out of poor defeats to Sunderland and Cardiff with any credit, he’s actually the only player besides Tom Ince to appear in the top three of our man-of-the-match voting more than once.
He also showed his versatility, filling in across the defence in February. Mbengue’s appearances included stints at right-centre-back, left-centre-back (both in a back three) and right-back in a four.
Who’s your player of the month for February? Vote in the poll below or, if it doesn’t show up on your device, click this link right here.