Reading - Swansea Preview: Laudrup's side look to punish rock-bottom Royals
Brian McDermott's side have the Premier League's worst defensive record and will look to bounce back from a last-gasp defeat against champions Manchester City last time out
By Adam Mazrani
Gunter, Gorkss, Mariappa, Shorey
Kebe, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu
Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak
Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies
Britton, De Guzman, Ki
Dyer, Michu, Routledge
Reading may stick to the same starting XI that came within minutes of snatching an unlikely draw at champions Manchester City.
Brian McDermott will still be without Jason Roberts with a hip injury, as well as central defender Sean Morrison (ankle) and long-term absentee Alex McCarthy (shoulder).
Should McDermott go for a more attacking formation, Hal Robson-Kanu could come back into the side, as well as striker Adam Le Fondre.
Michael Laudrup may also look to limit changes following Swansea's impressive point against league leaders Manchester United.
Right-back Angel Rangel should be fit to return, provided he recovers from a calf injury, while Ki Sung-Yueng could also bring fresh legs into midfield. The Premier League's top goalscorer Michu looks set to continue in the lone striking role.
Pablo Hernandez (thigh) may come back into contention but Neil Taylor (ankle) and Darnel Situ (Achilles) are both ruled out for the season.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Reading and Swansea met in the 2011 Championship play-off final, where the Swans triumphed 4-2 to secure promotion to the Premier League.
- Of that Reading side, seven of the starting XI remain at the club while at Swansea, six of the team that day are still present.
- In the two sides' previous match this season, Reading took a 2-0 lead and looked on course for their first Premier League away win of the season, only for the Swans to peg them back to 2-2.
- Michu (pictured right) is now the Premier League's outright top scorer ahead of Robin van Persie after scoring his side's equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
- The Royals have the worst defensive record in the top flight having conceded 37 goals in 18 games, four more than the next two worst, Fulham and Southampton.
- Michu has scored exactly half of Swansea's 10 goals away from home in the league so far this season, while Nathan Dyer has contributed three more.
- Reading have scored in all but one of their home Premier League games this season, a 0-0 draw with Norwich on November 10.
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Top 3 Predictions
Reading 0-2 Swansea City
- 12.23 %
Reading 1-2 Swansea City
- 11.93 %
Reading 1-3 Swansea City
- 11.62 %
|Club Friendlies (FRC)||27 Jul 2013||Reading 0 - Swansea City 3|
|Premier League (EPL)||26 Dec 2012||Reading 0 - Swansea City 0|
|Premier League (EPL)||6 Oct 2012||Swansea City 2 - Reading 2|
|Capital One Cup (CCUP)||28 Aug 2007||Swansea City 0 - Reading 1|
|3 Dec 2013||Reading 1 - Charlton Athletic 0||ENG2|
|29 Nov 2013||Nottingham Forest 2 - Reading 3||ENG2|
|23 Nov 2013||Blackburn Rovers 0 - Reading 0||ENG2|
|9 Nov 2013||Reading 1 - QPR 1||ENG2|
|2 Nov 2013||Sheffield Wednesday 5 - Reading 2||ENG2|
|9||Adam Le Fondre||Striker|
|20||Jonathan De Guzmán||Midfielder|
The Royals' highest-paid player has been in and out of the starting line-up in recent weeks and has struggled for goals all season long but remains one of the most potent threats in their side. Brian McDermott will need the big Russian to bring his best form to the table if they are to cause an upset at the Madejski and, considering Swansea's weakness at defending high balls, he could have some joy.
For so long on the fringes of Premier League squads, Routledge has enjoyed his best season in the top-flight so far this term. He has looked a constant menace for the Swans and provided ingenuity, creativity, hard work and even a consistent stream of goals. Considering how hapless the Reading backline looked against the pace of Arsenal's Theo Walcott not long ago, Routledge and fellow wide-man Nathan Dyer could cause havoc.
Both sides will try to play good football but Brian McDermott's desperation to search for three points could play right into Swansea's hands, who can be deadly on the counterattack with the pace of their wingers and the precise finishing of Michu.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed