Reading 0 Wolves 2

Groundhog Day is a film I’ve often described as being akin to watching Wolves.

Rarely has the comparison been used with flattery in mind.

Year after year we’ve endured one insipid performance after another, with an occasional upset victory cheering us up every now and then.

At times, it seemed as if there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

That has been provided in spades, however, by the promotion chasing juggernaut assembled by Nuno and co.

They too are a predictable bunch, the key difference between them and their predecessors in old gold being they can’t stop winning.

It’s a quaint feeling being a Wolves fan nowadays, with each victory carrying an alien sense of inevitability.

Yesterday, we were put to task by a Reading side that appear as talented as they are limited.

And yet the scoreline would suggest another leisurely afternoon for the league leaders.

The old adage goes that the best teams can win games without playing well and, though I’m not usually one to indulge in cliches, the saying is ringing true at present.

We play some breathtaking football at times, but our resolve when under pressure is just as impressive as our swashbuckling play in the final third.

After being subjected to years of calamitous defending by various coaches, it’s a pleasure to see Wolves be able to cope with onslaughts in the manner in which they did yesterday.

Ryan Bennett, Connor Coady and Willy Boly were in imperious form, particularly during a second half in which the Royals had plenty of chances to level the score.

John Ruddy, meanwhile, had arguably his best game since joining the club, keeping the home side at bay with a string of crucial saves.

As we all know, such solidity provides a platform from which our creative forces can do damage and both goals were once again pleasing on the eye.

Diogo Jota’s through ball to Ivan Cavaleiro was a thing of beauty, as was the latter’s ensuing shimmy round the opposition goalkeeper.

Matt Doherty left it late to prosper from some sumptuous build up play in the game’s dying embers, no doubt prospering from some tired Reading legs as he slotted cooly past a hapless Vito Mannone.

It all seemed rather routine, and quaintly poetic given the opposition had former subjects of ire in their ranks.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Dave Edwards always gave their all for the club, but they’re a million miles of the standard required to play in this current vintage.

Whether this air of invincibility will prevail over a notoriously bruising winter period remains to be seen, but promotion is currently looking an elementary task for this side.

* Wolves are looking strong odds for promotion so to maximise your returns with freebetting make sure you check out what’s on offer from the leading bookies.

Reading Vs Wolves Preview

It’s been a long old fortnight.

Maybe it’s because we played on the Friday prior to the international break so it’s consequently been two blank weekends without a fix?

Either way, it’s felt painful.

I’m so buoyant about our prospects right now I just want to get through the games as quickly as possible.

Bring it on.

Reading

That said, I smell danger in this one. Edwards, Bodvarsson, former players, our record, etc, etc. You know what I mean.

Add to that the fact that Reading’s form has improved of late and a 4-2 win at Derby certainly raised a few eyebrows.

It’s worth remembering too they came within a slither of reaching the Premier League last season so have pedigree.

Along with the players they recruited from Nuno’s ‘no longer required’ list, they also added Sone Aluko from Fulham for serious cash. His pace and guile could prove problematic.

Equally so, big Yann Kermorgant. We’ve struggled against target men this season and he’s been a thorn in our side before.

The Royals have only mustered 2 wins from their 7 homes matches thus far, so there’s nothing to fear in terms of fortress Mad Stad, despite our record being iffy at best.

Wolves

Hopefully no injuries or excessive fatigue knocking around Compton after some of our best and brightest jetted off to represent their countries.

I suppose that will become evident in Nuno’s team selection tomorrow. If everyone is fit and available I’d expect something very close to the side that saw off Fulham.

There’s plenty of competition for places though so I won’t be too disheartened if we see changes for the greater good.

Predictions

It’s a tough looking game on paper but we’ve got nearly twice as many points as Reading, so perhaps it’s they who should be fearful?

I haven’t seen a lot of them this season, but if they’re still about retaining possession and building up slowly I think that suits Wolves.

In a game of chess, I would back us to get the win every time.

2-1.

Up The Wolves!

Reading 2 Wolves 1

Yesterday’s game drew neither the fanfare or headlines to match Haye v Bellew but like other recent defeats was reminiscent of your average boxing match.

Wolves, ever the plucky underdog, rolled with the punches against a heavyweight foe but once again found themselves floored by full time.

Reading may have only claimed victory through two fortuitous goals but the reality was they never really needed to step out of second gear, despite the best efforts of Paul Lambert’s team.

This has become somewhat of a recurring theme, so much so I’m beginning to suspect we’re just not good enough for what has become an exceptionally competitive division.

The sight of George Saville ambling around at left back (a new nadir in Lambert tactical innovations) is unlikely to be erased from my mind anytime soon.

Similarly, another afternoon spent watching Connor Coady unsuccessfully impersonating a Championship midfielder left me evaluating my life choices.

However, as was recently pointed out by one of my neighbours in the North Bank, bemoaning the limitations of specific players is a fruitless exercise as the overriding fault with our current team is a collective matter rather than one lying with specific individuals.

Costa and Saiss aside, none of yesterday’s team stood out as being of the standard needed to get out of this division.

This of course is a major failing on the previous regime’s part, though some of the culprits remain knowingly at large.

What our owners will do about this in the long run is anyone’s guess but in the short term it’s left us dependent on the continued failings of Bristol City, Wigan and Rotherham.

And what a sorry state of affairs that is.

Reading Vs Wolves Preview

We’re in deep doo-doo.

Everyone seems to be winning apart from us, Rotherham and Bristol City.

Add to that we’ve got this tough looking trip to the Mad Stad followed up by another reunion with Mick McCarthy who we never beat.

That Rotherham match next weekend is already looking pivotal.

The other crumb of comfort is we have a few games in hand to try and establish more daylight, but we have to start digging out results fast.

Reading

I said it on one of their own fan sites this week – Reading were atrocious at Molineux back in August. We completely steamrollered them. Funny to think how our seasons have since diverged.

Fair play to Jaap Stam though, he stuck to his passing principles, the club backed him and results have been very good ever since.

They’ve taken a few stumbles in recent weeks, but then again they’ve had some difficult matches against the top brass. There’s no shame in losing to either Huddersfield or Brighton.

It’s bonkers that they’ve actually conceded one more goal than Wolves (45) and only scored eight more, yet find themselves 5th in the table – 25 points ahead of their opponents.

That’s the Championship though. You’re usually in most of the games but just have to find a way to consistently come out on top. Wolves have done the opposite.

Ex-Chelsea midfielder John Swift looks a great player and we should also be weary of big Jann Kermorgant up front who normally causes us pain.

Wolves

It’s annoying that neither Joe Mason or Ivan Cavaleiro are fit enough to play, as they would both start for me. From those available, this would be my team:

I’d revert to the back four that played so well against Stoke in the FA Cup and hope Dom Iorfa can rediscover some sort of form. His athleticism could help free up Costa a bit more too.

Saiss and Price holding and hopefully getting hold of the ball a bit more than we’ve managed in recent weeks.

Dicko up front on the basis he’s actually scored a goal now and could go on a run. Dave Edwards just behind, but with one simple remit – get in the box.

Costa must do more and Weimann also needs to demonstrate a greater goal threat than he has thus far.

Predictions

Got to go with the statistical probability that we’ll lose, so I’ll say 2-1 Reading.

But if our remaining games this season follow statistical probability we’re in a lot of trouble, so hoping to take at least something from the next two matches.

We’ve got to get into the habit of taking scruffy points when we can’t win. Even draws against Wigan and Burton in recent weeks would have moved us up the table a few places and afforded us breathing room. It’s maddening.

Do better lads because this is getting worrying.

Up The Wolves!

Wolves 2 Reading 0

However long Walter Zenga remains in the home dugout, I doubt he’ll ever enjoy a more serene Molineux experience.

With the sun shining, the South Bank packed and Wolves coasting to victory against a Reading side I could scarcely believe were so bad, the Italian’s only concern was remembering to acknowledge the crowd as they sang his name for the umpteenth time.

He’ll know better sides won’t be anything like as charitable as the Royals, but will take heart from several individual performances and the team collective.

The visitors had 66% possession but that consisted almost exclusively of stroking the ball along the edge of their own penalty area and inviting Wolves to pounce.

And pounce they did, repeatedly until Matt Doherty slammed home the opener after a host of earlier chances had been repelled by the mercurial Ali Al-Habsi.

Joe Mason’s header just after half time killed the game and saved the striker’s blushes as he sandwiched his goal with two guilt edged misses that would have given the result a merited coat of gloss.

Speaking of gloss, Joao Teixiera was silky smooth again, dancing over challenges and sliding passes through lines all afternoon. He was at the heart of everything good in the final third and brings an added dimension to a previously one paced side.

Up front Jon Dadi Bodvarsson was the ideal focal point, occupying defenders, bringing others into play and when opportunity presented itself, running towards goal.

The big Icelander might be disappointed he didn’t bury a late header to get on the scoresheet but his all round performance was to be admired. He’s already an established and key member of the team.

Credit to for Conor Coady who impressed at right back, albeit against meagre opposition who rarely asked the question. One wonders if that’s a temporary fix or a longer term solution to our full back shortage?

For Coady it might be his only way into the starting eleven, with Edwards, Evans, Saville and Price all seemingly preferred and some bloke call Prince also on the cusp of signing.

Many were surprised to see Jack Price omitted after Tuesday but nobody could complain about the efforts of Saville, Edwards or Evans who were all industrious and continually first to the ball, setting the tone for the team performance.

If this is what’s possible when you take last season’s workhorse approach and sprinkle in some final third impact, then our prospects for the season appear promising.

More players will be added before the end of the month and others will hopefully return from injury, meaning there’s no reason the feel good factor won’t continue.

But right now at least, things feel pretty damn good.

Wolves Vs Reading Preview

With no disrespect to Rotherham or Crawley, I think this fixture will provide a more accurate measure of progress.

Reading aren’t in particularly great shape, but like us they’re a midtable team looking to improve on last season.

It’s a winnable game but any result we get in these early rounds must be considered a bonus as Fosun look towards reshaping and upgrading our squad.

The reported big money bid for Derby’s Chris Martin was welcome news, providing the first clear evidence our new owners are prepared to invest heavily in proven domestic talent.

Looking down the squad, I think we’re short another three or four players if the objective is a promotion push this season.

Reading

200px-Reading_FC.svgAll change at the Mad Stad over the summer with Brian McDermott given the shove after just months in charge and replaced by Jaap Stam.

The Dutchman is already tempering expectations, openly stating he thinks it will be tough to get near the top six. One wonders if he’ll be given the time to execute a longer term plan?

Still, they couldn’t have asked for a better start, beating Preston by a goal to nil last weekend and coming through two nil against Plymouth in the League Cup.

I got this from Reading supporter Dan from the Tilehurst End Blog:

2016/17 looks to be the most unpredictable season we’ve had since Tommy Burns ripped up the squad ahead of our first season at the Madejski in 1998. Brian McDermott was sacked (again) and shockingly replaced with Jaap Stam who’s at least brought a bit of a buzz back around the place after four successive seasons of decline.

Financially we’re nowhere near the big boys despite as evidenced by selling Oliver Norwood to Brighton and Aaron Tshibola to Aston Villa, so the club’s new approach has been to use the European market and bring in a lot of players from the fringes of big teams to see if they can click at Championship level. It’s an ambitious but a big gamble as the squad looks painfully thin on experience right now BUT if everything does click and Stam manages to add a couple of heads before deadline day it could be an exciting season.

Roy Beerens is a name more familiar for his Pro Evo & Football Manager skills than an actual footballing pedigree but he could be magic if Stam gets his head straight. Likewise if Garath McCleary can return to anything near his form of a couple of years ago he’s one of the best in this division. Through in a lot of promising Academy products and this season is going to be interesting at the very least. As to how I think it’ll go, I can see us settling down in mid-table and I’d be very happy with that!

Wolves

Still almost impossible to predict Walter Zenga’s preferred XI, as evidenced by Tuesday’s team selection. This would be my best guess for tomorrow:

Wolves team for Reading

If Costa is fully up to speed there must be a temptation to throw him in from the start, but more likely he’ll get another go from the bench.

Teixeira looks further along in his fitness and I’d imagine he might be given license to roam in behind Bodvarsson, backed up by the workhorse Edwards and the pick of Tuesday’s midfielders – Jack Price.

Dominic Iorfa will surely return to the back four and the defensive unit need to rapidly improve having looked creaky so far. No more set piece concessions please boys.

Predictions

There are far too many variables on both sides to have any real grasp on what might happen in this one, but I’ll focus on Wolves.

If Jon Dadi Bodvarsson influences this game in anything like the way he was able to at the New York Stadium last weekend, we’ll have a great chance.

Defensively, I think individually and collectively we’re capable of doing much better than we have been, but still not confident about keeping a cleansheet.

I’ll go for a narrow home win – 2-1

Up The Wolves!

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