After another disappointing defeat for the Royals, Vital Reading looks at the players’ individual performances from the 3-0 defeat to Derby.
After another disappointing defeat for the Royals, Vital Reading looks at the players’ individual performances from the 3-0 defeat to Derby. As you would expect, there were not many good ones.
Adam Federici – 6 – The second and third goals you can`t have any complaints of him, but the first compounds one of his rare weaknesses. It wasn`t the first time Derby threatened it, but it was clear they were targeting his hesitance to collect high balls. He may have a Derby player on him, but was pushing his own player in the build-up – I`m no expert, but go around him? Maybe the Millwall mistake has made him wary. Despite this, he made a stupendous double save in the second half.
Chris Gunter – 5 – I don`t know what has happened to the Chris Gunter of last season. Derby were targeting him in the first half and getting their rewards, despite coping in the second half much better. While he did venture forward, his crossing isn`t simply good enough. Adkins admitted he is losing patience with some of his players and I have a feeling Gunter may be one of them.
Michael Hector – 7 – Very easily our best player and probably didn`t deserve to be on the losing side. He was winning the majority of his aerial battles against a strong figure in Chris Martin and his tackling was spot on. There was the odd moment of naivety, but once he cuts that out of his game, he will be a classy centre half – we need to get him down on a longer deal.
Alex Pearce – 5 – Pearce is a defender who seems to excel in a strong and confident defence, which we are not at the moment or have been this season. While he is not the main culprit for our recent defensive woes, as a passionate leader, he needs to stand up and be counted. If Adkins uses the loan market this week, I imagine Pearce will be the casualty.
Jordan Obita – 6 – What is quite clear is that Obita has been worked out already by other teams, as he is not being given the same amount of space to attack teams, like he did in the early stages of the season. Playing in a shaky defence at the moment is doing no favours for his development as a left-back, again, maybe Adkins will look for LBs in the loan market this week.
Oliver Norwood – 5 – Previous to this game, virtually every long pass he hit was reaching it`s man – in this game, those same passes were instead finding row Z. I don`t know why, but Norwood wasn`t at the races. You can debate whether the international break would have had any effect on that, but he didn`t match his usual standards today, although I was surprised he was taken off instead of Taylor.
Jake Taylor – 5 – I was looking forward to seeing Taylor in his more favoured central role, but was virtually non-existent. He seemed a bit lost in what his role was – Norwood was clearly the playmaker, what was his job? I wouldn`t have said he had a poor game, but didn`t assert himself on it at all. If Akpan was in instead, could that have made a difference to Norwood and the team`s performance?
Jamie Mackie – 5 – The on-loan QPR man deserved his start after his showing against Brentford, but didn`t repay his manager`s faith in another average performance. On too many occasions he tries to beat his man, despite not having the pace or power to do so. You can`t deny his energy and work rate is fantastic, but that`s not enough to cope at this level.
Simon Cox – 5 – I don`t really know where he was meant to be playing, whether it was wide, up with Murray or in the number ten role. He had a good chance with a header, which should have been at least on target, but that was probably his only major role in the game. Eustace did a good job in making sure he didn`t get into the game, as he mainly anonymous throughout.
Hal Robson-Kanu – 5 – You would have hoped HRK would have built on his good spell away with Wales on international duty, but didn`t have any space to exploit. He showed good width at the start of the first half, which set up Cox`s early chance, but after this, Obita was left helpless on the left-side, as Hal took up more of a central role.
Glenn Murray – 6 – Along with Hector, the only player that be somewhat pleased with his performance. He held the ball up well and despite his lack of service, tried to fashion chances for himself.
Pavel Pogrebnyak – 4 – I was thinking the other day that Pog may have been treated slightly harshly since Murray has come in, but if you can`t score an open goal from ten yards, I`m afraid I no longer have sympathy for you, Pog.
Nick Blackman – 6 – Very harsh to have been dropped after the Brentford disaster, as he has been one of, or if not our best, player this season. He came on and made a difference in the last minutes, being very direct and having a few efforts at goal.
Aaron Kuhl – 6 – Kept the ball moving in midfield and didn`t make any stray passes, which will help his confidence after the Brentford mistake.