Surprise league leaders Reading head to newly-promoted Coventry for Friday night football from the Championship. Mark O'Haire examines the odds.
"The Royals have been unsustainably clinical, scoring 15 goals from only 29 shots on-target and an overall Expected Goals (xG) output of 6.20"
Coventry v Reading
Friday October 30, 19:45
Coventry fail to fire on Teesside
Coventry boss Mark Robins expressed his frustration after seeing his side sink to a fourth Championship loss in five in midweek. The Sky Blues were downed 2-0 away at Middlesbrough on Tuesday night with the City supremo disappointed that his newly-promoted team failed to "have a go" in the final-third of the Riverside encounter.
Coventry defended stoutly for 80-odd minutes on Teesside before conceding the first of two late goals, but barely laid a glove on Neil Warnock's men at the other end of the pitch. The Sky Blues managed a measly three attempts at goal, with just one on target over the entire course of the game, producing a a paltry Expected Goals (xG) output of only 0.11.
Robins said, "I don't think we deserved anything. While we worked hard, I'm still looking for us to have a go. Just have a go. When are we really going to believe that we can get something from a game?" Key midfield man Gus Hamer returned in midweek and star wing-back Fankaty Dabo is also back in contention. Callum O'Hare is expected to be recalled.
Reading go seven points clear
League leaders Reading opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Championship after beating free-scoring 4-2 Blackburn in an exciting contest at Ewood Park. The Royals needed just nine seconds to take the lead as Yakou Meite side-footed into an empty net after a defensive mistake, but Blackburn were level two minutes later through Adam Armstrong.
Michael Olise ran through to put Reading ahead and Josh Laurent's curling effort from outside of the box made it 3-1 to Reading after just 18 minutes. Blackburn had chances to score either side of the break before eventually grabbing a second strike, only for Lucas Joao's to settle matters with the Berkshire boys' fourth after breaking through.
The victory means Veljko Paunovic's side have won seven and drawn the other of their first eight league games - their second-best start to a league season in their history behind the 1985-86 campaign in the old Third Division when they won all of their first eight games. Star man Ovie Ejaria should return to the fold on Friday, whilst Meite is expected to be fit.
Royals favourites at St Andrew's
Coventry and Reading are crossing swords for the first time in over eight years and the Sky Blues are searching for their first success against the Royals in 11 meetings (W0-D5-L5). Four of the previous five meetings have ended all-square when hosted by Coventry with City securing only two home league triumphs over the Berkshire outfit since 1963.
Coventry 3.2011/5 have dropped down the Championship after earning a solitary success from their opening eight encounters (W1-D2-L5). Last season's League One champions have endured a tough schedule - six of their eight opponents reside in the top-half - but City have picked up only two points from a possible 18 of late, failing to score in four of those six.
Seven wins from eight unbeaten outings has put Reading 2.608/5 clear at the top of the table. Veljko Paunovic's men have recorded six shutouts, shipping just three goals in over 12 hours of league action. However, the Royals have been unsustainably clinical, scoring 15 goals from only 29 shots on-target and an overall Expected Goals (xG) output of 6.20.
Reading to preserve unbeaten record
Coventry and Reading have combined to see 7/16 (44%) of Championship games feature Over 2.5 Goals 2.265/4 but with only Wycombe (5) failing to score more often than the Sky Blues (4) this term, and the Royals leading the way in terms of clean sheets and chances conceded, it's easy to see why the out-of-form hosts may struggle to make in-roads.
With that in mind, I'm happy to support Reading in the Double Chance market alongside Under 2.5 Goals at 2.05 via Betfair Sportsbook's Same Game Multi market. Friday's fixture pits together the bottom two in the division for shots attempted and so it's hard to envisage the St Andrew's showdown sparking into a free-scoring shootout.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 24.00 pts
Returned: 27.58 pts
P/L: +3.58 pts