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26 December 2012
• Madejski Stadium, Reading, Berkshire
Referee: M. Jones
• Attendance: 24050
Thanks very much for staying with me today, those that have done, let's hope next time we're able to see a more entertaining game of football. Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!
Providing QPR continue to lose their delayed match at home to West Brom, Reading will move above their relegation rivals into 19th position in the table but still six points from safety. As for Swansea, they rise into ninth for the time being, although they could drop a place were Stoke to gain a victory over Liverpool later on tonight.
But it comes to nothing and Mike Jones puts us all out of our misery and blows the final whistle. 0-0 the final score here. Swansea started well enough and looked confident on the ball but after Michu missed a glorious first-half chance, it all petered out for them. Reading certainly gave it their all and in the second half could have perhaps done a little bit more to grab a winner but on the face of it, considering Michu's miss and the good save Federici made from Dyer mid-way through the second half, a draw really is a fair result.
90' + 4'
But wait, last chance for Reading here. Mike Jones has awarded them a free kick in an interesting position....
90' + 3'
We're just about done here....lots of effort...little quality I'm afraid to say.
90' + 1'
A Reading attack peters out and it looks as if that just might be that here at the Madejski. Brian McDermott will be happy to avoid setting an unwanted record of eight straight Premier League defeats but will be a little frustrated that they couldn't get a second-half winner.
Four minutes of added time.
Into the last few minutes now and it's Swansea who are on the attack but not too vigorously. Reading retain hope of a winner but they haven't got long now.
The Reading fans are on their feet. They sense a winner could be in the offing. Can the home side do it? With QPR losing at the moment, a win would take the Royals off the bottom of the table.
The Reading pressure continues. At the moment there looks like there's only one team who want to win it. Corner after corner for the home side that Vorm is just able to deal with.
Reading go SO close to grabbing a winner! Michel Vorm's punch from a Gunter cross falls perfectly for Le Fondre to smack a volley past Vorm on target into the middle of the goal only for Chico Flores to produce a quite magnificent headed clearance off the line and over the bar to safety. Superb defending!
This match is petering out. It's been a rather poor affair after a promising start, particularly from Swansea.
Bad news for Swansea fans. Michu rolls his ankle after an innocuous challenge and has to be carried off by Swansea physios. The Premier League's top scorer is replaced by Itay Shechter. 10 minutes left to play here plus stoppage time.
Reading are seeing a lot of the ball in the Swansea half for the first time today but still just aren't really threatening enough. These players are certainly giving their all but they just seem like Championship players at the moment. Michael Laudrup will not be happy with his Swansea team in this second half. They have been so passive.
Reading smell a winner here. Swansea have been poor in the second half and there are definitely three points here if Brian McDermott is brave enough. He's got one more change to make. Can he make a difference?
Yellow CardAdam Le Fondre
GOAL DISALLOWED! Le Fondre's just done a Maradona! A superb delivery from Ian Harte is punched into the net by Le Fondre, who wheels away to celebrate with the delirious home support. However, referee Mike Jones has superbly spotted that the striker did in fact use his arm to put it in and the goal is chalked off. Yellow for Le Fondre. Cheeky!
Federici forced into a save again. De Guzman's inswinging free-kick from deep is cleared out to Ki who strikes it well but straight at Federici, who does well to hold onto a ball that he could have easily spilled into the path of oncoming Swansea attackers.
Swansea are now monopolising possession as Reading drop deeper and deeper. It's all being played in front of the Reading backline though, particularly as Michu continues to drop short looking for the late run into the box.
Jonathan De Guzmán
Agustien and De Guzman on for Britton and Luke Moore. Michu will now move up front for Swansea. Will that give him the space he needs to find the winner?
Fantastic save from Federici to deny Dyer! The game's well and truly opened up now. Some fantastic play from Michu in midfield sees the ball fed to Routledge on the left whose cross is met by Dyer's head in the six-yard-box. The ball looks to be heading in only for a strong hand from Federici to push it out for a corner. That could be a massive save for Reading.
Reading counter-attack at speed and it's 2 v 2 but Le Fondre's pass to the overlapping Guthrie is just overhit and the former Newcastle man is forced wide. Guthrie's eventual cross eventually finds Le Fondre but his header is blocked out for a corner. Suddenly Reading have their tails up.
It's all very very scrappy. Swansea haven't really got going in this second half at all. Michu has hardly seen the ball and nor has Ki. The main threat has been through Dyer but his delivery and shooting have both been wayward this afternoon.
Adam Le Fondre
30 minutes to go and Reading make an attacking double change with Hal Robson-Kanu and Adam Le Fondre coming on. However, surprisingly, it's Pogrebnyak is replaced. One would have thought the Russian needed a partner up front to feed off his knockdowns and tireless running.
Yellow CardPavel Pogrebnyak
Blimey, Reading aren't holding back here. First Danny Guthrie crunches in on Britton with the ball long gone before Pogrebnyak steams in straight through the back of Tiendalli. The Russian could have easily been show a red there rather than yellow Mike Jones did produce.
Pogrebnyak has just produced a disgraceful dive in search of a penalty. Anticipating a challenge from Williams was coming, the big Russian collapses to the floor like a sack of spuds. Quite rightly, nothing is given but quite wrongly, no yellow card is shown.
Yellow CardDwight Tiendalli
The game just opens up somewhat when a Reading attack breaks down and Swansea counter with Routledge galloping away at pace. However, the Swans wideman fails to find an onrushing Ki and the momentum is lost.
We've just seen how isolated Pogrebnyak is for the home side. Kebe produces a turbo-charged run to put himself in a dangerous position, only to look up and only see the Russian as his target. Not to matter though as Kebe's cross is poor and landed nowhere near the striker.
It really is more of the same here. It's already got scrappy in the middle of the park. Reading are trying to force it but just seem to lack a bit of composure and/or confidence when on the ball. It's all too easy for Swansea to win it back.
Swansea have the ball once again. Looks like it might begin as more of the same in this second half.
Reading kick us off.
The players are just beginning to make their way out onto the pitch once again. Just moments away now from the start of the second half.
As for Swansea, well unsurprisingly for a side that has only scored 10 goals on the road so far this season, they have looked rather toothless in front of goal. Michu, the man who has scored five of those 10, is clearly the main man for them and he will be as shocked as anyone that he somehow contrived to spoon a gilt-edged opportunity over the bar. A massive let off for Reading that he surely won't be so kind to pass up again in the second half.
So how can Reading improve? Well on the face of it, it seems simple. Pogrebnyak up front simply needs more support. Adam Le Fondre is the club's top goalscorer in the league and he could be the man to snap up the few chances that will fall for the home side this afternoon. The fear of course is that by removing an extra man from midfield, Reading could play directly into Swansea's hands, who will be sure to make the most of the extra space that will be afforded to them.
Half-time here. Well, that started off a pretty entertaining affair with Swansea in particular looking full of confidence. However, after Michu's uncharacteristic miss, the Swans just lost their way somewhat. For Reading, you have to say it's not looking good for them. They work ever so hard but unfortunately, the players on the pitch just don't seem good enough for this level. It can only get better at the Madejski at the moment.
One minute of stoppage time in what has degenerated into a pretty poor first half. Dyer's just had another pot-shot from range but again fails to test Federici.
Swansea's football has just begun to lose its way somewhat and Reading are snapping into the midfield challenges. Unfortunately at the moment the Royals just aren't good enough to take advantage of the half-opportunities presented to them. Pogrebnyak in particular looks far too off the pace with the ball at feet. He is a penalty box predator who seems to spend most of his time 30 yards from goal.
Nathan Dyer's just shown us a sign of how things have progressed in this first half. Again, it's some neat and tidy football from the away side but it just seems to lack incision in the final third, leaving Dyer to try his luck from an impossible distance that never even came close to being on target.
Things have gone rather stale now. For all of Swansea's pretty football they just seem to lack a bit of dynamite going forward at times. Reading look like what they are, a team struggling both for form and confidence.
You sense that if Reading are going to get anything from this game, it might just come from set pieces, particularly as they've got Ian Harte in their side. However, he's just shanked one delivery straight into the wall. Must do better.
Reading look to have their confidence hit somewhat by that near-miss from Michu because Swansea are now in complete control again. A raking ball over the top from Ashley Williams is THIS close to finding Nathan Dyer but he only just fails to get a touch to the ball.
Michu has just missed a sitter. Some scrappy play in midfield sees the ball eventually swung into the box. Chris Gunter goes to chest the ball back comfortably to his goalkeeper but makes a complete hash of it, giving the ball straight to Michu. However, with the ball dropping perfectly, the Premier League's top scorer somehow manages to balloon it over the top.
Swansea are just looking a little less comfortable now. Reading are getting to the ball that little bit quicker and it's having an impact as Jimmy Kebe comes charging away with the ball at pace. The winger gets challenged and Pogrebnyak finds himself with the ball bearing down on goal from the right-hand side, only to produce an extremely heavy touch and let the ball run on through to Vorm. That was a decent opening spurned.
Midway through the first half and we still haven't had a real sight of goal from either side yet. Swansea looking far more likely, particularly through Michu but Reading don't look beyond hope just yet and from set pieces, they could potentially cause problems.
Pogrebnyak looks very isolated up front for the Royals. He holds the ball up well enough but when he looks up he sees no team-mate within 10 yards of him and he's simply not quick enough to do too much with the ball on his own from 30 yards out. Troubling times for Reading.
Swansea do play some lovely stuff. Just when Reading felt they may be building up a bit of momentum, some superb keep-ball from the away side brings the home fans to the boiling point of frustration once again. Michu is at the heart of everything - a superb player.
Finally an attack from Reading! An Ian Harte free-kick is swung in and after some penalty box pinball, it drops to Jimmy Kebe who swings a volley that brings jeers from the Swansea fans. Something to build on for Brian McDermott's men?
Reading can't get the ball. More superb football from Swansea sees Michu and Dyer combine to set onrushing full-back Ben Davies away but his cross across the face of goal is cleared by the Reading backline. The Swans are completely dominating at the moment.
Superb skill from Michu as he juggles the ball past the Reading defender not once, not twice, but three times before he is adjudged to have fouled his man just as he slots wide of the post. Swansea look very, very dangerous.
Swansea have settled into their passing rhythm now and Reading are struggling to get the ball off them at times. The home side look a little too passive at the moment and seem happy to allow the Swans to control possession, which as we all know, they absolutely thrive on.
Ki with a free-kick from an absolute mile out, but it's the festive season so why not? It goes miles over the ball. Decent start to the game though, Swansea clearly carrying the greater confidence and threat in the final third and understandably so.
Michu's just had his first sight of goal and has just gone within inches of opening the scoring. The Premier League's top scorer collects the ball on the edge of the box, turns and shows superb technique to poke at it from just outside the box with his left foot, producing a drifting shot that only just drifts past Adam Federici's left-hand post. He is on fire at the moment.
Early penalty shout for the home side. Chico Flores is dispossessed by a sliding challenge from Pavel Pogrebnyak inside his own half (yes, Pavel Pogrebnyak!), the ball is seized by Danny Guthrie who meanders into the box before eased off the ball by Leon Britton inside the box. Could have been given that, but perhaps a bit too early for the referee Mike Jones.
We're off and Swansea kick off right to left.
Today is Brian McDermott's third anniversary in charge at Reading. What better present than a victory that could lift them off the bottom of the league table!
The players are out, we're moments away from kick-off!
Just under 15 minutes until kick-off now. It really can't be stated enough how big a game this is for Reading. Their only win in the league to date so far this season came at home and if they are to have any chance of staying up, winning home games against the likes of Swansea are simply a must.
As for Swansea, midfielders Jonathan De Guzman and Kemy Agustien drop out from the XI who held their own against Manchester United, replaced by Ki Sung-Yeung and Luke Moore, who play as the lone striker with Michu dropping back into his preferred advanced midfield role. That's a bold move from Michael Laudrup, it looks like he's coming to the Madejski for three points.
So Reading make one change from the team that were oh so close to grabbing a point at Manchester City with Danny Guthrie coming in for Jay Tabb in the middle of the park. Guthrie has of course rarely featured for the Royals this season after falling out with manager McDermott for refusing to travel with the squad for a match at Sunderland earlier this month. Could he be the man to help spark a Reading recovery?
SWANSEA: Vorm, Tiendalli, Chico, Williams, Davies, Dyer, Britton, Ki, Moore, Routledge, Michu. Subs: Tremmel, Bartley, Graham, Monk, Shechter, de Guzman, Agustien.
READING: Federici, Gunter, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, Kebe, Leigertwood, Karacan, McAnuff, Guthrie, Pogrebnyak. Subs: Taylor, Le Fondre, Hunt, Morrison, Tabb, Robson-Kanu, Cummings.
Swansea meanwhile are fresh from their impressive point at home to league leaders Manchester United on Sunday and come to Berkshire with the league's top scorer Michu hungry to add to his tally of 13. This could be an entertaining game between two teams who like to get the ball down and play.
This is a massive game for Reading and Brian McDermott. Still not into double figures in terms of points and currently six points off safety, the home side really do need to collect only their second Premier League win of the season here today if they are to begin to gather enough momentum for a survival push.
Hello there and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of today's Boxing Day clash between Reading v Swansea at the Madejski Stadium. I'm Adam Mazrani and I hope you're all suitably fed and watered to bear with me for the next couple of hours for what will hopefully be a very good game of football!
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