Putting this together this week is a struggle it has to be said, as frankly, the game against Watford could see anything happen, as the entire club has been flipped upside down with the news that Steve Clarke has taken over as manager- replacing the sacked Nigel Adkins.
Last weekend saw Reading take a pasting at the hands of Birmingham 6-1 at St. Andrews, leaving The Royals sitting 16th with a tough schedule coming up over Xmas/early January. Unfortunately, I was way off with my prediction of a second 0-0 in a row (not even close in fact, along with the rest of TTE).
This weekend sees us hosting Watford, a game that typically has been played in December/January (tick), is usually freezing cold (Probably a tick), and normally has been dreadfully dull (hopefully not 3/3!). Watford come to Reading in indifferent form, with 2 wins from their last two, but four losses in a row before that. Troy Deeney has managed to get five in the past two games and will be looking to try and push himself up the goalscoring charts against an out of form Reading defence.
Watford have been extremely efficient this season against teams in the bottom half of the league with 9 wins from 11, and 5 clean sheets. Currently, they have only conceded 8 goals against the bottom 12 clubs, and lead the league in PPG against teams in the bottom half. This indicates Reading may be in for a struggle this weekend, despite the new manager bounce commonly associated with teams bringing in a new boss. Watford to win therefore at 2.70 has to be of some attraction to people looking this weekend for a bet.
Reading however with Clarke coming in are goign to want to prove a point, and the first one of those has to be that they can actually defend. Too often under Adkins, mistakes were made (Reading have made the second most mistakes leading to goals this season (6)) and Reading would be on the back foot early on chasing a game. I think Clarke will spend the week trying to address this, therefore Reading to keep a clean sheet going into half time may be worth a small glance as well - 0-0 at half time is 3.25
This week is going to be one of the toughest weeks to predict Reading play (and that's despite the inconsistency we've had this season!), therefore I'd recommend small stakes to anyone betting.
With the lack of scorelines predicted, I'll place the bet league on hiatus over the Xmas period.
1) Watford to win @ 2.70 - I think this is a great price despite the obvious possibility that the new manager syndrome might strike this weekend with Reading. Watford have been extremely good against teams in the bottom half of the table, only dropping points in two matches vs these teams so far. Reading are still going to struggle this weekend, espescially against one of the division's ebst strikers with a backline that has its' confidence so shot to pieces currently.
2) Half Time Score 0-0 @ 3.25 - Reading need this weekend to prove to both Clarke and their fans that the defence is tigether than it has been shown up to be whilst Adkins was in charge, and a strong defensive performance from Reading is what is needed. Therefore a first half which is very gritty and Watford struggle to break Reading down is very possible as Clarke sets Reading up as tough to beat.
3) Troy Deeney to score 2 or more @ 10.00 - Deeney has scored 5 in his past 2 games, a hat trick vs Fulham followed by a brace against Wigan. If Reading do begin to struggle, Deeney will be a pivotal point in their attack alongside Matej Vydra in his second spell with the Hornets.