Reading v Norwich, Saturday 15:00
Reading were once again left waiting for the first Premier League win of the campaign as they drew 1-1 with QPR at Loftus Road. Kaspar Gorkss impressive strike gave them an early first-half lead, but the Royals failed to impose any kind of dominance on the rest of the match and will have left manager Brian McDermott worried after being largely outplayed by a fellow struggling side in QPR.
Gorkss will appreciate the change in his fortunes with his first Premier League goal for Reading. The quality of his strike belies that fact that he was previously yet to register a single shot on target for Reading, having previously had eight efforts that missed the mark.
Nicky Shorey has now delivered 24 crosses this season, but is yet to be credited an assist, the most crosses without return in the Premier League this season.
Just days before their last league game, Reading were involved in one of the most dramatic games seen in the recent domestic calendar as Arsenal came back from 4-0 down to win 7-5 after extra time in the League Cup.
Norwich continued their fine run of recent form as Bradley Johnson’s header secured a 1-0 victory over Stoke for Chris Hughton’s side. Wes Hoolahan was once again involved in all things positive for the Canaries, his work rate and vision proving to be one of the deciding factors between the two sides.
Hoolahan has made just 7 appearances for Norwich this season, but has clocked up 36.15 miles of ground, the 7th highest among the Norwich team. That an incredible 121.9 yards covered for every minute he has been on the pitch. That trumps even Liverpool’s Joe Allen, who has covered the most ground all season with 63.7 miles at 116.3 yards per minute on the pitch.
Johnson’s goal was his first in the Premier League this season, having previously had 16 shots at goal with 9 on target.
Johnson has been key for Norwich this season, completing 143 passes in his opponent’s half, more than any other Norwich player
John Ruddy has producing some solid performances in goal for Norwich this season. Ruddy has made 53 saves in ten appearances, (the fourth highest in the Premier League) conceding 18 goals at a rate of approximately three saves per goal conceded.
Fans looking to striker Grant Holt for the goal scoring form of last season would do well to note that he currently has three goals from 16 shots at goal with 9 on target. At this same stage of the season last year Holt had the same number of goals, although he had had just 8 shots at goal to get them.
Comparing Holt’s return to other strikers who have had the same number of opportunities, Torres has also had 16 shots at goal with a return of 4 goals, while Bryan Ruiz has 1 goal for 16 shots and Lukas Podolski has 2 goals from 15 shots on target.