Coventry vs Reading | Friday 30th October 2020, 19:45 | Sky Sports
The Championship rollercoaster keeps on coming and after yet another midweek round of fixtures we’re back in action again on Friday as Coventry takes on Reading at St Andrew’s. It promises to be cold and wet evening in Birmingham, but that won’t dampen the spirits of current runaway leaders and surprise package Reading. They sit at the summit with seven wins from eight, and are undefeated.
Coventry have found it tough adjusting to life as a Championship club. I was prepared to give them a bit of time to settle into this league even more so considering their previous campaign ended prematurely, so naturally they needed some time to get back into the swing of things.
I think we can safely say they are now given they’ve played their last four in the space of 10 days, for example. Everything however is a struggle for Mark Robins’ men at present, and they’re now winless in six.
It is funny, without initially looking at any statistics I fancied that Coventry weren’t creating a great deal in front of goal. I was right as they’re only averaging 8.5 shots on goal per game, one of the lowest figures in the league.
However, the lowest figure in the league is that of top of the table Reading, who average just 7! The big difference is Reading have scored nine more goals, but perhaps the big question is if Reading can sustain this in the long-term and keep on churning out positive results? That will ultimately determine if they’re seriously promotion contenders.
So much of Coventry’s success last season was how good they were off the ball. Their structure out of possession ultimately got them promoted as they had conceded only 30 goals in 34 games before the season was cut short.
Mid-table Burton scored more goals than they did, so the challenge was trying to gain success playing in this manner in the league above, which clearly contains greater all-round quality. They only conceded 9.8 shots on goal against on average last season, and already that number is up at 14.3, albeit in fewer games but it just highlights the difference between the two leagues.
From a betting perspective, it is a really tough time to be going too strongly on anything in the EFL at present. Now I love football arguably more than anyone, but I do subscribe to the feeling that I get the impression we’re playing way too many games. That in turn leads to unpredictable outcomes, even more so than normal in what is typically an unpredictable league!
Part of me does not want to back Reading for the reasons I mentioned above, but at the same time I just don’t see Coventry doing enough right now to convince me that they can turn things around, for now.
Already I get the feeling that they need January to come around pretty quickly so that they can get a spark of life from somewhere. Although they held Middlesbrough until late on in midweek before conceding twice to lose 2-0, Robins was adamant his side deserved nothing, and had similar concerns about them just missing something right now.
Compare that to the comments of Veljko Paunovic following their win at Ewood Park on Tuesday night, where the Serbian still believes his team are and can continue to get better and better. He also praised their spirit, and that is playing a big part in getting through them periods of matches where they aren’t at their best.
Coventry are just falling short in periods such as this, and whilst the unpredictable nature of Championship and football in general at this time means anything is possible, I just can’t look against Reading making it four wins in a row, especially at 8/5 (Novibet).
They have been utilising a game-plan away from home which served them to great effect against Blackburn on Tuesday. They were essentially clinical in front of goal, whilst they packed their box when out of possession and also counter attacked efficiently. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Coventry see more of the ball on Friday, and that should suit The Royals quite nicely based on recent showings.
Coventry v Reading – Reading to win (8/5 Novibet)