Reading 8/5 to awake from nightmare run with a win over QPR
“Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die” or so Isaiah 22:13 puts it. In the cases of Reading and Sunderland it’s a lot more like “we’ll die on Monday if Villa win at home” with both outfits destined to fall victim to mathematical relegation should Paul Lambert’s men beat Sunderland. Whilst their Premier League lives still hang in the balance Reading are fancied to rage against the dying of the light with their first win since February- backable at 8/5 with Coral.
Reading are on a diabolical run of form, with nine losses in their last 10 outings in all competitions, in which they’ve registered no more than one goal per match, even being shut out on four occasions. Furthermore Nigel Adkins men have a poor record against the sides they should be more likely to beat, winning just two of their 16 clashes with sides in the bottom half of the league table.
However in the purgatorial Bermuda Triangle of end-of-season clashes between de-facto relegated outfits these statistics can be made to look like pipe dreams and last night’s nightmares.
Goals inside the last 10 minutes from Christian Benteke and Shaun Maloney in recent matches seem to have finally broken QPR’s spirit, after a run of three wins and four draws from the nine preceding matches had given their beleaguered fans serious hope of avoiding the drop. Tame 2-0 defeats at Goodison Park and – more worryingly – at home to woeful travellers Stoke City have elapsed since the Wigan man’s hear-breaking injury time equaliser.
Whereas QPR’s squad is replete with players who will have no desire whatsoever to play in the second tier next season, Reading are not dissimilar to the side arrived as 2011/12 Championship winners and – having hardly advertised their talents in the Premier League shop window – their players will know they are playing for their future at the club next term.
This is the Royals’ penultimate match in front of their own support this term and with Manchester City their guests on the season’s final day, undoubtedly their last chance to give their committed fans some fond memories to warm the cockles on the terraces at Burnley and Doncaster next season. The R’s road defence should offer them plenty of chances to shed their goal-scoring inhibitions to help them along the way, having shipped 11 goals in their last four road trips.