On Saturday 9th April 2022, 21st placed Reading take on the 17th placed Cardiff City in the EFL Championship. When these two teams last met in October 2021, it was Reading that came out 1-0 winners at Cardiff City stadium. Coming into this game, Reading drew 1-1 away at Barnsley, and Cardiff lost 0-4 to Swansea at home.
Reading are coming off a 1-1 draw against Barnsley in their previous game. Josh Laurent scored in the 82nd minute to rescue a draw. Reading now have a record of 12 wins, seven draws, and 21 losses. xGA predicted Reading to have shipped 65 goals until this point in the season, but they have leaked 10 goals more than expected. Reading have the second-worst defence in the league, only behind Peterborough United.
Above is the shot map of Reading this season. The Royals have missed a few big chances which had an xG of 0.35 or more, but they have scored these big chances more often. Reading’s shot accuracy has been 35.5% so far this campaign. John Swift is the team’s top goalscorer this season with 11 goals to his name.
John Swift, in addition to being the top goalscorer for his team, is also the most successful threat creator for Reading this season, from both open play as well as set-pieces. In fact, as per xT scores, he has created more than 2.5 times the next best in the team. This means it is not surprising that he is also the leader in assists provided for Reading this campaign.
In their last match, Cardiff City performed miserably, as they lost 0-4 to Swansea City in the Welsh Derby. This bad defeat means Cardiff’s record stands at 13 wins, seven draws, and 19 defeats. That performance is a microcosm of Cardiff’s poor defensive performances this season. xGA predicted the Bluebirds to concede 45 goals, but they have been dreadful, as they have shipped 60 goals, a difference of -15.
Given in the above visual is Cardiff’s performance relative to the rest of the league. The Bluebirds have been average in goalscoring as they rank in the 49th percentile for goals scored per 90 and xG per 90. Cardiff have been below average in creativity as they are in between the 45th and 50th percentile in four different categories – progressive runs per 90, key passes per 90, smart passes per 90, and through balls per 90.
This match is between two teams in the lower mid-table clash. Both teams have underperforming defences and will want to remedy this heading into this game and the next season.