Date:Thursday January 16 2014
Vital Reading contributor and Reading fan Jamie Fry once again is out to give his opinion - this time evaluating Nigel Adkins and his style of play. Jamie looks at the problems Adkins has had with implementing a style that worked wonders at Southampton, the drawbacks of lining up with 4-4-2 and the effect it has had on the fans.
The Adkins style of play is one that modern football has become accustomed to seeing these days in football with the teams priority being possession. Over the years Arsene Wenger has perfected this style at Arsenal, and although they haven`t won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005, it appears this season they are on course to end nine years of hurt. So why are Reading not on course for success too then?
We have seen and heard many critics over the recent weeks become more and more frustrated with the manager and the players, some of whom have even resorted to Twitter to voice their concerns and frustrations, some using the hashtag '#adkinsout`. I have to admit, Adkins has frustrated me also over the past few weeks but I don`t want him to be sacked. His track record is impressive and his philosophy is one we should be trying to enforce into the team, but his tactics and constant tinkering with the team does get on my nerves.
A good place to start is the formation. It is quite rare to see teams play this kind of football with a 4-4-2 system, and with the way most teams line up in the modern days, this can easily lead to a four man midfield being overrun. One thing Reading teams have done very successfully over the years is penetrate the opposition defence, whether that`s with a killer through ball or using our pacey (or in Glen Little`s case skillful) wingers to get to the byline and get a good cross in. Danny Guthrie has the ability to pick out and play that killer ball but playing so deep makes it very hard for him to do this, and Reading also play a very narrow system, so wingers very rarely get to the byline and get a good cross in. With wingers like McCleary and Drenthe, we should be playing them to their strengths, getting them to take players on and cause defences problems. We need to be more direct in our approach and not be afraid to have a shot from outside the box!
Every game there seems to be at least one change in the team, normally through players getting injured or suspended, or indeed returning from injury or suspension, or it could just be Adkins up to usual tricks and confusing everyone like with his substitutions. Against Watford I can tell you there were many confused faces when it was discovered young Jordan Obita was starting at left back, a gamble which proved to be effective and the lad had a great game, but risks don`t always work out. It would appear to me Adkins is still a little unsure as to what his best team is, but working with a squad that is comprised of none of 'your` players then you can`t really blame the man for being in this situation, seeing as he has not yet been given the chance to make his mark on the club, and this is why we should be patient with Nigel. His philosophy is right and once he has financial backing to go and make the squad his own, then we should see performances coming together and results going our way. The majority of teams in the Premier League play fluid five man midfield systems and Adkins has made the point that we are more likely to survive in the Prem playing his style of football, so it`s better to carry on this way for the long term to try and play this way, even if it takes a season or two for us to perfect it.
Under Brian McDermott our football was far from easy on the eye, mainly reverting to the long ball system used under Steve Coppell. All that being said though, you never heard anyone complaining about the fact we didn`t play good football, just because we were getting the results. Under Adkins, we play a better style of football and some of our play has been superb, but the lack of wins and goals has resorted to the crowds of the Madejski Stadium to boo their own team. If we were languishing at the bottom of the table, then this wouldn`t be surprising and after all every fan has a right to their own opinion. Hovering just outside the playoffs still well within the race for a playoff place is not a reason to be booing. Shaun Cummings spoke out recently to the local media at how the booing was not helping the team and urging the fans to get behind the team. We all know how hard a division the Championship is and that anyone can beat anybody, but we should be getting behind the boys as Shaun rightly says.
I can understand fans concerns that we aren`t lying comfortably in the playoff positions at this moment in time, given the ambition Adkins showed at the start of the season in talking of a title challenge, and of our own personal expectations. However, the connection between players and fans is one that is always talked about by personnel within the club as being special and effective, with many players upon leaving talking of how good the fans were to them and the Reading faithful having a special place in their heart. We shouldn`t lose this spirit and we should do what we do best!
BE LOUD, BE PROUD, BACK THE BOYS AND MAKE SOME NOISE! COME ON URZZZ!
Date:Thursday January 16 2014
Key man watch: Leonardo Ulloa (Saturday March 8 2014)
Vital poll result: Fans want Drenthe to start (Saturday March 8 2014)
Brighton (A) Match Preview (Friday March 7 2014)
The Opposition View - Brighton (Friday March 7 2014)
Team news: Brighton vs Reading (Friday March 7 2014)
Royals international round-up (Thursday March 6 2014)
Drenthe speaks out on team omission (Thursday March 6 2014)
Seven first teamers away on international duty (Wednesday March 5 2014)
Kuhl delighted with Anfield victory (Wednesday March 5 2014)
Vital poll: Does Drenthe deserve a start? (Tuesday March 4 2014)
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