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ricardo

Ricardo's report v Reading

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Aploogies for a slightly later than usual report but I was unable to resist the suggestion of a celebratory pint of Peroni on the way home. The day began for Ricardo 260 miles away in Deepest Dorset where a week away from the angst of this forum was just what the doctor ordered. Apart from fog on Salisbury plain it was sunny all the way which was hopefully the correct omen for todays vital fixture. The cardboard clappers were on every seat so there was no excuse for a lack of noise today and from the first whistle there was a very good atmosphere.Hughton did what many were asking for by playing both Kamara and Holt up front. A slight worry from Ricardo''s point of view  however was the omission of Wes who is so often a key player for the Canaries. It required a good start and City were at it from the off with Bennett firing a yard over after a one two with Kamara and the same player minutes later smashing a 20 yarder just wide of McCarthy''s right post. It was all City as Snoody fired wide and then Garrido got in on the act bringing the keeper into action when he found space on the edge of the area. We were all hoping for an early goal to settle the nerves but it didn''t come and when Turner went down after 18 minutes and had to be replaced by Ryan Bennett it was more than a bit of a worry. However, Bennett immediately distinguished himself with a saving tackle as Reading came forward. City lost their way at the midpoint of the half as Reading began to put some passes together and win a couple of corners. Thankfully City''s rearguard was solid and Bunn was rarely troubled. Not until the end of the half did City threaten again when Kamara brought a good save out of the Reading keeper.With most of the main relegation protagonists winning at half time it was obvious that only a win would do and to their credit City opened up strongly. Holt sent Kamara away and a terrific strike from 20 yards was deflected behind by the Reading keeper. Holt''s header was parried by the keeper but Ryan Bennett was on hand to crash the rebound home and set the crowd alight. Barely a minute had passed as City stormed forward again, Martin''s cross eventually came out to Elliott Bennett who drove it goal-wards. The keeper got a touch but the strength of the shot carried it up and into the net. CR was in raptures seemingly the weight of relegation worries had been lifted and City continued to over-run the Reading defence. In truth it could easily have been three four or five as the Reading goal survived only through desperate defending and the refusal of the ball to sit as both Holt and Kamara sized up chances.It wouldn''t be Norwich City if things didn''t take a negative turn and that duly arrived on 72 minutes when a speculative 25 yarder swerved past Bunn for a totally undeserved Reading goal. From then it got a bit nervy. Hughton replaced Bennett with Tetty, a fraction late in my opinion but never the less a much needed move. Reading sensed an equaliser but despite the crowd getting anxious with every ball thrown into the City area there wasn''t really much to trouble Bunn. The 5 added minutes signaled seemed like half a lifetime to Ricardo but nerves were steadied when Holt and Kamara gave an excellent demonstration of how to eat up time near the River end left corner flag. There was certainly a collective sigh of relief when Mike Dean finally blew for time.So here we are with only 4 games left and only a point behind Ricardo''s predicted progress towards 43 points. I still say we are o.k. and just as I said in October the third relegated team will be either Villa or Wigan.Kei Kamara MOM for me today but it was nothing less than 100% from everyone in yellow and green and that includes the crowd.[:D]

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Great report as always Ricardo, and a massive 3 points today. Nice to see R Bennett take his chance, lets hope Turner''s injury isn''t too serious, he''s been stellar for us this season!

With four games to go, who are your top 3 POTS''s?

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[quote user="AJ"]Great report as always Ricardo, and a massive 3 points today. Nice to see R Bennett take his chance, lets hope Turner''s injury isn''t too serious, he''s been stellar for us this season!

With four games to go, who are your top 3 POTS''s?[/quote]Snoddy, Bassong and Johnson.

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I''d pretty much agree with that, such a shame to miss off Turner though in my opinion, but I think those three have consistently been the spine of our team this year

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It is worth adding that Pavel Pogrebnyak missed the target from 2 yards in the first half, when the scoreline was 0-0.  A huge moment of good fortune/incompetence, depending on your point of view. It is the kind of miss you see a lot in the Championship, so Reading are getting their practice in early.

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A good read [Y]I was gutted about Turner going off, he has been so efficient recently. I also had money on him to score today! [:$] Anyone else want any not-so-hot betting tips?

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I agree Kamara was MotM.

Holt had his best match for an age and his attitude was spot on.

Worried about our inability to retain possession. Delighted with the forward runs of a number of players.

Pleased to see Benno and Snoddy interchange wings at last and glad to see two up front.

Only the top six have lost fewer home games than us. There has been plenty of scope for more enterprising play in certain games prior to this but it''s all water under the bridge as IMO we. Only need one more point for safety.

Get a result at Stoke next week and put a dagger in the heart of Villa next up at FCR.

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Thanks Ricardo. + agree re subsitution- don''t think Reading would have scored if Tetty had been brought on earlier.

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Turner''s injury looks serious as he was wearing a foot ''brace?'' on the bench wasn''t he?

Could just be precautionary but could be out for a bit.

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Thanks Ricardo. As someone who very rarely gets to games, I always enjoy reading your reports; especially on days like today, where, instead of finding a stream, I end up trudging round IKEA.

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Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]
Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.
[/quote]Yes, I agree, an almost faultless display from Mike Dean. It makes a change from the relentless run of poor decisions that has cost us at least 4 points in recent games.A bit harsh on Bunn I think. I was right behind the shot at the River End and it seemed to dip and swerve very late. In any event the Reading player should have been closed down much earlier. Yes it did put the nerves on edge but by rights we should have been well out of sight by then. Bunn was rarely troubled apart from the goal and Reading were lucky to survive on more than one occasion. I read several reports today that made it sound like Reading were unlucky so I must have watched a different game.

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="PurpleCanary"]
Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.
[/quote]Yes, I agree, an almost faultless display from Mike Dean. It makes a change from the relentless run of poor decisions that has cost us at least 4 points in recent games.A bit harsh on Bunn I think. I was right behind the shot at the River End and it seemed to dip and swerve very late. In any event the Reading player should have been closed down much earlier. Yes it did put the nerves on edge but by rights we should have been well out of sight by then. Bunn was rarely troubled apart from the goal and Reading were lucky to survive on more than one occasion. I read several reports today that made it sound like Reading were unlucky so I must have watched a different game.[/quote]

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I was at the match yesterday, and I''ve watched it on Match Choice and MOTD, but I must admit I missed their equaliser!

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Purple, a couple of thoughts on your observations regarding the strikers. I agree with you regarding Kamara....he is not the striker we need to go with next season. Many of the positive comments shared by others are true. He comes across as a likeable character, willing, and his height and jumping ability can obviously be an attribute in the striking zone. However, if you watch him closely when the ball is approaching him in the air ( in open play away from the opposing goal area )  he is frequently attempting to jump to head the ball when it is clearly preferable to bring the ball down and control it. This has been a big problem for Norwich this season because we are not holding the ball up well and retaining possession, thereby allowing midfielders to have confidence to move up quickly into attacking play. Which brings me to Holt. He obviously is not performing at the level that he has previously, however, we knoiw he can perform at a much better level because we have seen it. So what is the issue? Has age caught up with him, is he carrying an injury that nobody wants to speak about while we are trying to retain our status? One would hardly think it''s his attitude. He is clearly a captain in every other sense. Look at how he pulled everyone together in the circle before the game began yesterday. That is not the body language of a man who is apathetic or coasting. 

 

We have RVW coming in and my guess would be probably another striker as well. The club knows we need to score more goals next season and turn some of those many draws into wins. We will do that by increasing the amount of possession we have in the opposing half couple with an increase in clinical finishing. We must take comfort in the fact that, to date, we have been the ninth most difficult team to beat in the division this season.

 

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="PurpleCanary"]
Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.

[/quote]Yes, I agree, an almost faultless display from Mike Dean. It makes a change from the relentless run of poor decisions that has cost us at least 4 points in recent games.A bit harsh on Bunn I think. I was right behind the shot at the River End and it seemed to dip and swerve very late. In any event the Reading player should have been closed down much earlier. Yes it did put the nerves on edge but by rights we should have been well out of sight by then. Bunn was rarely troubled apart from the goal and Reading were lucky to survive on more than one occasion. I read several reports today that made it sound like Reading were unlucky so I must have watched a different game.[/quote]

 

ricardo, I agree that the Reading player should have been closed down, and the ball certainly swerved, but if Bunn''s positioning had been better that wouldn''t have mattered. The late swerve only existed because he was so far back. Like a batsman getting stuck of the crease and edging a legbreak when if he got properly forward he would have smothered the spin before it had time to bite. Presumably against Stoke it will be more of an aerial challenge for him, assuming he plays, and he is small by modern standards. As to the game overall, I agree - we deserved the win. Reading had a neat period in the latter part of the first half but generally we were the better team. I didn''t intend my specific criticisms of players to give a different impression.

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[quote user="Foghorn"]I was at the match yesterday, and I''ve watched it on Match Choice and MOTD, but I must admit I missed their equaliser![/quote]Other than where I said Reading sensed an equaliser I fail to see where one was mentioned.

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[quote user="YankeeCanary"]

 

Purple, a couple of thoughts on your observations regarding the strikers. I agree with you regarding Kamara....he is not the striker we need to go with next season. Many of the positive comments shared by others are true. He comes across as a likeable character, willing, and his height and jumping ability can obviously be an attribute in the striking zone. However, if you watch him closely when the ball is approaching him in the air ( in open play away from the opposing goal area )  he is frequently attempting to jump to head the ball when it is clearly preferable to bring the ball down and control it. This has been a big problem for Norwich this season because we are not holding the ball up well and retaining possession, thereby allowing midfielders to have confidence to move up quickly into attacking play. Which brings me to Holt. He obviously is not performing at the level that he has previously, however, we knoiw he can perform at a much better level because we have seen it. So what is the issue? Has age caught up with him, is he carrying an injury that nobody wants to speak about while we are trying to retain our status? One would hardly think it''s his attitude. He is clearly a captain in every other sense. Look at how he pulled everyone together in the circle before the game began yesterday. That is not the body language of a man who is apathetic or coasting. 

 

We have RVW coming in and my guess would be probably another striker as well. The club knows we need to score more goals next season and turn some of those many draws into wins. We will do that by increasing the amount of possession we have in the opposing half couple with an increase in clinical finishing. We must take comfort in the fact that, to date, we have been the ninth most difficult team to beat in the division this season.

 

[/quote]

 

Yankee, as I said his brain is still sharp, and I certainly don''t think he has stopped trying. I suspect the answer is the simplest of those you list - that age has caught up with him, and very quickly. Given the kind of player he is he was never going to go on and on in the way Teddy Sheringham did.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="ricardo"][quote user="PurpleCanary"]
Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.

[/quote]Yes, I agree, an almost faultless display from Mike Dean. It makes a change from the relentless run of poor decisions that has cost us at least 4 points in recent games.A bit harsh on Bunn I think. I was right behind the shot at the River End and it seemed to dip and swerve very late. In any event the Reading player should have been closed down much earlier. Yes it did put the nerves on edge but by rights we should have been well out of sight by then. Bunn was rarely troubled apart from the goal and Reading were lucky to survive on more than one occasion. I read several reports today that made it sound like Reading were unlucky so I must have watched a different game.[/quote]

 

ricardo, I agree that the Reading player should have been closed down, and the ball certainly swerved, but if Bunn''s positioning had been better that wouldn''t have mattered. The late swerve only existed because he was so far back. Like a batsman getting stuck of the crease and edging a legbreak when if he got properly forward he would have smothered the spin before it had time to bite. Presumably against Stoke it will be more of an aerial challenge for him, assuming he plays, and he is small by modern standards. As to the game overall, I agree - we deserved the win. Reading had a neat period in the latter part of the first half but generally we were the better team. I didn''t intend my specific criticisms of players to give a different impression.

[/quote]Having been a goalkeeper in earlier life I have to defend Mark Bunn here. There were defenders in frint of him so he did not need to be too far off his line. A goalkeeper always has to be alert to the possibility of a lob and with a shorter keeper like Bunn that was probably in his mind.

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[quote user="Foghorn"]Ricardo, it wasn''t your report I was referring to. Have alook at the seventh post on this thread.[/quote]Sorry Foghorn, I did notice that yesterday and assumed some people misunderstood the term "sensed". That goal out of the blue certainly gave them a lift they had a good go at it but that late overhead kick that went high and wide was the only time my knees got a bit shaky.

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="PurpleCanary"][quote user="ricardo"][quote user="PurpleCanary"]
Thanks as always to ricardo. Some extra observations on a game that featured more Bennetts than a Jane Austen novel...I thought the referee, Mike Dean, was excellent. Good use of advantage, and I didn''t notice an obviously bad decision, unless it was Bassong in the first half who cleared that dangerous cross from the right rather than than Pobgrebnyak missing an open goal.Bunn was badly at fault for the Reading goal. The comparison is with Howard yesterday for Everton, even though he didn''t make the save. Sessegnon hits the ball from 20 yards, perfectly aimed for the corner. Howard''s positioning is pretty much perfect, on his six-yard line narrowing the angle, so that he gets a touch on the ball. But not enough to divert it round the post. By contrast when McCleary shoots from the same distance Bunn is at most three yards from his goal-line. The shot is nowhere near as well-placed as Sessengnon''s. It is easily within''s Bunn''s, reach, but because he is so far back he just deflects it into the corner rather than round the post.And that goal produced total panic. It was as if someone has flicked a switch. We went from playing some decent football to hoofball in an instant. Luckily Reading weren''t good enough to get a second.As for Holt (tempting wrath here) perhaps only seeing a game every so often sharpens one''s view, or perhaps yesterday was just a bad day. But he really did not look to me (as a very amateur watcher) a Premier League striker. The brain is still working. Early in the second half there was one very clever flicked pass down the left. But he just doesn''t have the drive of last season that frightened defences. He is still going wide to look for the ball but then lacks the energy to be dangerous from that kind of position. All adding to his frustration.The trouble is, it isn''t just Holt. Kamara had an OK game, but he stands out because he is the only player with any pace and drive. Looks at clinically he isn''t a Premier League striker either, lacking the crucial attribute of being able to anticipate where the ball is going next.What is astonishing is that we may well stay up despite having gone through a season without a single PL-quality striker. In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.

[/quote]Yes, I agree, an almost faultless display from Mike Dean. It makes a change from the relentless run of poor decisions that has cost us at least 4 points in recent games.A bit harsh on Bunn I think. I was right behind the shot at the River End and it seemed to dip and swerve very late. In any event the Reading player should have been closed down much earlier. Yes it did put the nerves on edge but by rights we should have been well out of sight by then. Bunn was rarely troubled apart from the goal and Reading were lucky to survive on more than one occasion. I read several reports today that made it sound like Reading were unlucky so I must have watched a different game.[/quote]

 

ricardo, I agree that the Reading player should have been closed down, and the ball certainly swerved, but if Bunn''s positioning had been better that wouldn''t have mattered. The late swerve only existed because he was so far back. Like a batsman getting stuck of the crease and edging a legbreak when if he got properly forward he would have smothered the spin before it had time to bite. Presumably against Stoke it will be more of an aerial challenge for him, assuming he plays, and he is small by modern standards. As to the game overall, I agree - we deserved the win. Reading had a neat period in the latter part of the first half but generally we were the better team. I didn''t intend my specific criticisms of players to give a different impression.

[/quote]Having been a goalkeeper in earlier life I have to defend Mark Bunn here. There were defenders in frint of him so he did not need to be too far off his line. A goalkeeper always has to be alert to the possibility of a lob and with a shorter keeper like Bunn that was probably in his mind.[/quote]

 

What little football I played was in goal. I am not talking about Bunn ending up by the penalty spot; if he had been (as Howard was) just a couple of yards further forward he would still not have been in danger of being lobbed and almost certainly would have saved the shot.

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I was in the upper barclay and the late swerve was quite significant and enough for me (another ex keeper) to give some benefit of the doubt to Bunn.  Having seen replays since I do think he could have done a little better,  but thats the difference between a decent prem keeper in bunn and a great one in Ruddy.   

 

What is clear is that there should never have been a shot,  the midfield abandoned their responsibilities, the defence sat too deep and together allowed an easy run and time for the player to think about his effort.

 

 

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]

In the 14 games of 2013 we have (going by the Pink ''Un reports) scored only five goals in open play and only one of those (Holt against Everton) from a striker.

[/quote]

That is such a telling stat but says more about the midfield and tactics than the strikers capabilties in themselves.  Its a stark reminder of why our central mid needs strengthening as it drives our negative approach.    As adkins said post match yest more,  than half our goals are scored from set pieces all season,  not just 2013 (16 open play,  17 set piece).

 

Away from home I think its even worse with just 4 from open play and 9 set peices (leaving at home being 12 and 8)   With stoke being strong on defending set pieces how will be expecting to score next week?

 

Finally we are one of only 3 teams not to score a goal on a counter attack.   This confirms we lack precision to break quickly and effectively and dont get enough players forward quickly - all from the concern about teh strength in central midfield.

 

Who are the other two who have not scored a counter attack goal?   Both have a possession rate in excess of 56% (top 4) compared to our 42% (was a poor 45% for us even yest) which suggests we set up to score on the counter,  which is not something Man U or Liverpool aim to do.      

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We desperately need attacking midfielders with pace.I still think Hooper will sign in the summer and i would like to see two wide players with pace. If Wigan are relegated then Kone and Maloney look ripe for picking for a yellow shirt next year.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"] 

ricardo, I agree that the Reading player should have been closed down, and the ball certainly swerved, but if Bunn''s positioning had been better that wouldn''t have mattered. The late swerve only existed because he was so far back. Like a batsman getting stuck of the crease and edging a legbreak when if he got properly forward he would have smothered the spin before it had time to bite. Presumably against Stoke it will be more of an aerial challenge for him, assuming he plays, and he is small by modern standards. As to the game overall, I agree - we deserved the win. Reading had a neat period in the latter part of the first half but generally we were the better team. I didn''t intend my specific criticisms of players to give a different impression.

[/quote]

 

That is in the cricketing rather than the Luis Suarez sense of the word "bite"...

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