By Richard Wakefield
The solitary point against Wolves on Saturday night was a wake up call for Villa and newly appointed manager Steve Bruce as Villa climbed out of the Championship relegation zone. With no wins in ten matches, Aston Villa may start to be looking over their shoulder a lot more than they expected.
Steve Bruce hopes to stop the rot as Villa travel down south to Reading where the hosts are unbeaten at the Madejski Stadium all season. With an extra day of training with the squad, Steve Bruce may have clearer picture of who will be donning the claret and blue strip on Tuesday night in an attempt to derail Jaap Stam’s men.
Here’s three ways of making sure it happens…
2. Tactics 101
An unbeaten home record is a feat any Championship club would be proud of at this point in the season (unless most of your matches have been draws!) and Reading don’t look ready to pick up their first loss yet.
With Reading’s gamble on Jaap Stam looking like it’s paying off, three clean sheets at home suggest that Stam is getting his message across to his players effectively making Reading a tough unit to break down.
However, due to the focus on defending, despite Birmingham being the only team to keep a clean sheet at the Madjeski, Reading are not blessed with goal scoring options. With the goals being split between players such as McCleary, Kermogant and Swift, an exact goal scoring threat is hard to point out; especially as a huge 9 out of 13 goals have been scored from either set pieces or penalties.
An average possession stat of 58% show that Villa may not have a lot of the ball on Tuesday, but this is where Bruce should thrive in telling his players to soak up the pressure and hit Reading on the counter attack. With players such as Kodjia and Adomah possessing the pace necessary to execute an effective counter attack, Villa could have a good chance of breaking the stubborn Royals rear guard.