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Reading vs Blackpool FA Cup 3rd Round: Quick Analysis
02 January 2020
By Hob Nob Anyone?
For most Championship teams, promotion to the Premier League usually comes top of the pre-season wishlist. Reading have made up ground on the top six after four straight league wins over Christmas, but even with that amazing run promotion is still is huge ask with less than half the season left to play. However, a cup run can be a refreshing tonic for fans. It might seem unlikely for Reading to go on a decent run in the competition this year, but as we saw in 2015, the draw can unfold nicely for Championship teams.
The first order of business is, of course, the visit of Blackpool. Here's a preview of the game, and a guide of how the bookmakers see Reading's chances:
Reading pulled out a string of great results over Christmas and top the Championship form table but are still in the bottom half of the table. Fears of a relegation battle have certainly subsided, but the play-offs are still a full eight league places away. A cup run might be the best way to deliver some excitement while we wait to see if our league form can continue. Blackpool are just a few points off the League One Playoff spots. Perhaps the bad news for Royals fans is that Blackpool seem to have a knack of grinding out results away from home, losing just once on the road in the league this season.
According to 888sport, Reading are 7/10 to win the game, with Blackpool at 4/1 and the draw at 11/4. However, looking at the stats, this might be the perfect fixture for online live betting as Blackpool tend to score early in games and Reading often leave it late (The Royals have netted 20 times in the second half this season, compared to just nine in the first).
The Blackpool Dangerman
Armand Gnanduillet is Blackpool's leading scorer this season, with the French-born striker finding the net 11 times this season. His all-round game is sometimes lacking though, and Blackpool boss Simon Grayson was forced to drop him earlier in the season. Gnanduillet is one of those players who will do nothing for an entire match and then suddenly pop up with a winner. That makes him a potential headache for Liam Moore and the rest of the Reading defence.
FA Cup Pedigree
Blackpool have made it past the third round just once in the last seven seasons, reaching the 4th round in the 2016/17 season. Unlike Reading, however, they can point to an FA Cup Trophy in the cabinet at Bloomfield Road. That was the Stanley Matthews' Final of 1953, but they have not made it beyond the Sixth Round in the 66 intervening years. Reading have had the misfortune of coming up against Manchester United in two out of the last three seasons, but have done well against non-Premier League opposition most seasons, notably during that run to the semis in 2015.
This is certainly not a glamour tie, but it should be viewed as an opportunity by Mark Bowen and the team. Some big names - Wolves vs Manchester United, Liverpool vs Everton - have been drawn against each other, and there are lots of ties that feature no Premier League teams so the 4th round draw could be kind to Reading should they overcome Blackpool. Let's not put the cart before the horse though, and you can see that the bookies are hesitant about making Reading overwhelming favourites; Blackpool are no mugs.
Reading -v- Blackpool - Fixture History >>
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