Archive for the ‘Team Analysis’ Category

To Change Or Not To Change? That Is The Question…

July 1, 2012 Leave a comment

Since the season drew to a close Reading have already dipped into the transfer market three times, bringing in Gareth McCleary, Danny Guthrie and subject to any late shenanigans, Pavel Pogrebnyak. Both Pogrebnyak and Guthrie have Premier League experience while McCleary is the reigning Player of the Season at Nottingham Forest, so all three will bring something positive to the mix at the Madejski next year and give Brian McDermott even more options to choose from.

We’re also highly likely to dip back into the market, with rumours of approaches for players such as Jordan Rhodes, Adrian Mariappa and even Gylfi Sigurdsson all floating about amongst numerous others. For fans of a newly promoted club this is arguably the most fun period of the season as we see household names all linked with a move to the Mad Stad, players we can all freely debate in the pub as opposed to relatively unknown quantities such as Brett Williams, or Karl Sheppard. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with unproven players (ahem Doyle, Long, Hislop etc) but it’s a bit more fun to chat about the merits of Pogrebnyak vs Hunt compared to Sheppard vs Church….

However there’s always a bit of concern whether a successful squad should be tinkered with too much, and especially when the players coming in are likely in a new wage bracket, could too many signings disrupt the team?

It’s a question that’s only going to be definitively answered come the season’s end but what can we learn from the investment of other newly promoted sides and can there be such a thing as too much or too little change?

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Fixtures, Fixtures & More Fixtures – 2012/13 Edition

June 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Hard to beleive how different the outlook was the last time I wrote this fixtures piece. Back then we were pondering trips to The AMEX, London Road and The Den, now it’s Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane.

By now we’ve all had time to digest the basics of the fixtures for the new season which will see us open at home to Stoke and finish with a trip to Upton Park to face West Ham. The official club site has done a great little key points article outlining some of the essential dates and what to look out for but I thought we’d take a look at some of the other impacts of the fixture list, including how far we’ll have to travel and how much away match tickets are likely to cost.

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Jem Karacan’s Season Over – Who Steps Up?

April 8, 2012 8 comments

Pic Courtesy Reading OS

The fantastic win over Leeds on Friday was soured somewhat by the news that Royals midfielder Jem Karacan will miss the rest of the season after breaking his ankle during a challenge with Michael Brown. It’s a sad end on what has been a great season for the Turkish midfielder but the good news is that he should be fit to take part in pre-season and we wish him all of the best in his road back to fitnes.

So with five games to go Reading now face the prospect of replacing their influential midfielder but who is best placed to take the mantle on.

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Reading Sign Karl Sheppard – A Profile On The Newest Royal

January 12, 2012 4 comments

Reading have signed striker Karl Sheppard on a 2 1/2 year deal as confirmed by the club after the player himself confirmed the news on Twitter. The Republic of Ireland U21 international was out of contract with Shamrock Rovers and so moves to the Madejski on a free transfer.

Below the jump we’ll be taking a quick look about what we know about Sheppard and what we can expect from him going forward.

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The Best Defence in the League?

December 30, 2011 1 comment

It may come as a surprise, but Boxing Day’s 3-0 victory over Brighton marked the first time the Royals had kept three consecutive clean sheets since the 27th April 2009, when a Shane Long brace sealed a 2-0 win over Norwich, in a game which Marcus Hahnemann, Liam Rosenior, Andre Bikey, Michael Duberry and Dan Harding kept the Canaries at bay.

The fact that it’s been such a long period between those defensive achievements is a testament to the strength of this current Royal’s defence. Led by the imperious figure of centre-back Kaspars Gorkss, the back four have found a mix of experience and exciting youth. Gorkss partnered by a player in Alex Pearce that, having only just turned 23, is seven years his junior, but from the balance that the left-footed/right-footed partnership has bought in recent months looks almost equal to the Latvian international in terms of experience and ability.

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The Kebe Conundrum

November 6, 2011 11 comments

Jimmy Kebe. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes frustrating, sometimes our best player, sometimes our worst, always inconsistent. The ‘Malian Magician’ has reportedly refused to sign a new contract at Reading as Nicky Hammond told the Reading Post:

“With Jimmy we have made him an extremely good offer for this football club. However, the feedback I have had is that he won’t sign it.”

So, it’s at this point we consider our options. After the jump I’ll reveal my thoughts on the situation.

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What Can The First 10 Games Of A Season Tell Us About The Next 36…

October 6, 2011 1 comment

So ten games down and it’s fair to say we’ve already been on a bit of a roller coaster, certainly life is never dull as a Reading fan. From the last minute comebacks against Millwall and Bristol City, to losing to a fluke goal at Hull, beating Mills and mighty Leicester at the Walkers and delivering the killer blow to Sean O’Driscoll’s reign as Doncaster manager…. just another typical season then!

After all of that we’re in 15th place in the Championship with 12 points from a possible 30, 10 behind leaders Southampton and 6 clear of bottom side Bristol City.

Every game has an impact and every game is important but how much do our points and league placing today impact where we finish after a full 46 games? Below the jump I’ll look back on our recent starts to the season and see if we have anything to worry about, or be optimistic about.

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