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What has gone wrong for Reading FC this season?

17 December 2021
By Hob Nob Anyone?

After narrowly missing out on the playoffs last season, Reading fans hoped that with the right moves, they could make a real push towards the top six heading in 2022. Instead, Reading currently sit in 21st place, just two points above the relegation zone. So what has gone wrong this season?

Wrong moves in the Summer

Losing two of your most exciting young players is always going to make things difficult for any team. Michael Olise was the Championship's best young player in 2020/21, so it was no surprise to Reading fans to see him leave in the summer. The fee collected for Olise may have been a little lower than many fans were hoping, but it still gave the team some money to improve the squad.

Losing Omar Richards was a tough loss, as well as seeing players like Tomas Esteves and Alfa Semedo return to their parent clubs after their loans ended. But Reading still had the chance to bring in support for John Swift and improve the remaining squad.

Instead, due to financial fair play rules the club were forced to spend a total of £0 on transfer fees. Instead, they focused on expiring contracts of players like Scott Dann, Junior Hoilett and Alen Halilovic. Reading were also able to bring in a few loan players as well. If you're looking to make a smart move, why not check out the offers from

But one of the main reasons why they have struggled this year is from limited production from these acquisitions. Tom Dele-Bashiru has been the best of the group, starting 18 times in the league contributing four goals in that time. But the other players brought in over the summer have not produced much.

Halilovic and Hoilett only have four goals and assists between them, despite playing over 1000 minutes combined. Andy Carroll just has the one goal this season. Scott Dann has started in 11 games this season, but Reading's defence has been poor this season.

Defensive Issues

This season, only Peterborough and Cardiff have conceded more goals in the championship this season. Reading only has two clean sheets this season. A big part of this has been the changes in defence throughout the season. Nine different players have started for Paunovic's defence, so there has been very little stability in defence.

Issues in Attack

The problems in defence have not been helped by an attack which is no where near the same level that it used to be. Losing Olise was huge for this team, but they have failed to replace his output in attack. Reading has relied heavily on John Swift, with Swift having 17 goals and assists in 21 starts this season, contributing to more than 50% of the teams goals. No attack in the world can be successful if it relies so heavily on one player. 


It has been a very tough season for Reading so far. It doesn't look likely for the team to be able to get anywhere near the playoffs this season. But if the team can identify the problems, maybe some changes in January could produce a positive result.

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