Back at the midpoint of the season we went through everyone in the squad, giving out grades for how their season had gone. Now, with the campaign done, we’re doing the same thing but covering the entirety of 2022/23.
Everyone gets a grade from A to E based on how the season’s gone for them overall: very good (A), good (B), OK (C), bad (D), very bad (E). Rather than judging them solely on their performances, we’ll also factor in how well these players have lived up to expectations, how often they’ve been able to actually play, and more.
First up, it’s the goalkeepers. You can find the December edition of our grades for them right here.
It’s been more of the same from Joe Lumley in the second half of the season. He’s maintained the decent standard he set in the first half: he’s pretty solid, commands his box well and, although xG stats suggest he’s not a stand-out shot-stopper, he’s largely ironed out the bigger errors we were warned of when he arrived. Overall, his average rating (5.9) is exactly the same as it was in December.
Interestingly he ended up in player of the season territory despite not really getting any better in his own right, winning the players’ player award outright and finishing second in our vote. To be honest, that all speaks to how few quality candidates there were for this award. He only managed one clean sheet in the second half of the season, although he earned two MOTM awards for keeping the score down (1-0 loss at West Bromwich Albion, 1-1 draw at Bristol City).
All in all he did fine in 2022/23 - certainly a lot better than expectations heading into the season - but I didn’t see enough from him to suggest he’d be a worthwhile long-term investment. I wouldn’t be that unhappy if Reading kept him on, but we can and should look for a stronger option.
Mid-season grade: B+
End-of-season grade: B+
Bouzanis only managed a handful more appearances in the second half of the season - with very mixed results. He got the full game in Reading’s third-round FA Cup tie against Watford before bizarrely coming off the bench in the fourth round at Manchester United; given he didn’t concede a goal in his quarter of an hour or so on the pitch, strictly speaking that was his third clean sheet of the season.
However, he rounded his limited campaign off by shipping five in a rout at Middlesbrough when Lumley was ineligible - arguably Reading’s worst game of the season. He’d go on to pick up an injury later on in the campaign, being replaced in the squad by youngster Coniah Boyce-Clarke for the final half-dozen matches.
In December he seemed alright as a back-up ‘keeper - good enough to step in when required but not good enough to seriously challenge Lumley. However, at the end of the season, it feels fair to say this has been a bad season overall for Bouzanis: he’s not been able to play as much as he would have wanted (due to injury and Lumley being first choice), while his big chance in the league at the Riverside couldn’t have gone any worse.
Mid-season grade: C-
End-of-season grade: D+
One more goalkeeper played for Reading this season: Coniah Boyce-Clarke. The youngster was handed a surprise full debut on the final day of the season, conceding twice in a 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town. Hopefully Reading can secure a new deal for him, given he’s out of contract now.
One player who won’t be staying though is Luke Southwood, who was released despite a decent season on loan at Cheltenham Town. On the bright side, he got valuable game time by appearing 51 times for the Robins in all competitions, finishing with an impressive 16 clean sheets. However, his underlying numbers weren’t so good: xG indicates he conceded six goals more than he should have done.
Arguably the die had been cast for Southwood when he was loaned out to Cheltenham at the start of the season.— Graham Bell (@gbell5) May 17, 2023
16 clean sheets last season an impressive mark for sure, but is this where the concern was for #readingfc pic.twitter.com/DmM4Egz7Yo
Otherwise, it was a frustrating season again for Jokull Andresson. He went out on loan twice, playing once for Exeter City before joining Stevenage, but an injury there cut his campaign short after only three appearances.