Bournemouth vs Reading
England - Championship 2020-2021. Nov 21st.
Closing odds - money line
Bournemouth vs Reading 4 - 2
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Reading Bid to End Slump
Some things in life can be very misleading can't they? Reading top the Championship by a point from Watford, sounds great but closer inspection tells a very different story. The Royals come into this game having lost their last three league games with 11 goals conceded in the last four. After amassing seven wins from their first eight games, it's all gone wrong and the slump has to stop.
Reading may top the Championship table but they are only six points clear of Brentford in 11th place. A bit disappointing considering not so long ago, Reading led the table by five points. What must concern them is that the three recent defeats have not been inflicted on them by top teams.
Their unbeaten record went with a defeat at Coventry who have been down the bottom of the table all season. Then Reading lost to Preston who are in the bottom half of the table and to Stoke, who are now eighth. How will they fare now up against one of the top teams in the Championship?
Their defensive slump is the most puzzling part of their current plight. How can a team concede just one goal in seven games and then 11 in the next four? Each of their three losses has seen them concede three goals. A bet on over 2.5 goals in this game will be a great idea if their defence continues the way it has in recent weeks. Reading have scored in 12 of their last 14 away league fixtures, so with that defensive problem, a bet on both teams to score also looks a possible winner.
Their manager Veljko Paunovic believes that the mistakes are coming from a mix of "immaturity" and "fatigue." They certainly aren't struggling to get possesion though. At home to Stoke, they had 70% of the possession and still found a way to lose 3-0.
Away form has seen Reading win three, draw one and lose one. They have scored twice in each of those games bar a goalless draw at Middlesbrough (who have the best defence in the league). There are problems up front too with no goals in the last two matches and both were at home. If you compile a form table for the last five games, Reading are 19th and rock bottom for the last three. All rather depressing stats for the team top of the table!
Cherries on the Charge
While their opponents are now struggling for form, Bournemouth are making steady progress. It's not out of the question that all three sides relegated from the Premier League last season may make an immediate return.
Bournemouth are fifth but a win in this game will take them ahead of Reading. They are unbeaten at home in the Championship with only one league defeat all season. Bournemouth would be top if they hadn't been drawing so many games. Five out of 11 have ended that way but not their last game. That was a 3-1 away win at Birmingham City, just days after losing their unbeaten record at Sheffield Wednesday.
Three of their five home league games have been won. The opening game saw them beat Blackburn Rovers 3-2 but there have only been four goals scored in the four that have followed. The return to form of David Brooks has been good news for the Cherries. He scored twice against Birmingham and then got the winner for Wales against Ireland. Keeping him fit is of paramount importance for Bournemouth and he's a good bet in the anytime goalscorer market.
Bournemouth have to be considered the favourites to win this game. Home advantage and the terrible form of Reading and their leaky defence points us in that direction. They only have one clean sheet in their last six games though, so go for Bournemouth with both teams scoring.