Things were never going to be easy for Reading on their return to the Premier League, but since the opening day very little has gone right for the Berkshire side.
In the final seconds of the opening game, Adam Le Fondre converted a penalty to rescue a draw for the Royals against Stoke and the fans were buoyant, but that remains the only point they have mustered this season.
Since then three defeats have followed, leaving them at the foot of the table and due to their match against Sunderland being called off before the international break, they have played a game less than their relegation rivals as well.
For Reading, then, it is a case of so far, not so good.
This is reflected in the betting for this weekend’s clash with Newcastle United at the Madejski Stadium as the home side are 39/20 outsiders to grab their first three points of the season, with a Magpies win at 27/20 and the draw priced at 9/4.
Despite their league form, there is one positive for Reading and that is the progress they have made in the Capital One Cup. After beating Peterborough in the second round, they produced a 3-2 victory in midweek over fellow strugglers QPR to make it into the fourth round.
After the win, boss Brian McDermott said his side have rediscovered their “identity”, suggesting that he feels Reading are beginning to hit their stride at the top level of English football.
Newcastle, for their part, did not enjoy similar success in their cup tie as they battled hard, but were eventually beaten 2-1 by a young Manchester United team at Old Trafford. This defeat now makes it five away games in all competitions this term without a win for Alan Pardew’s team – a worrying trend that will have to end soon if they are to repeat the success of last season.
Going into the game at the Madjeski, Newcastle carry the good omen of having won on their most recent visit to the stadium, a 2-1 victory in a Championship clash in 2010. The two previous meetings before that came in the Premier League and Reading emerged victorious on both occasions.
The common theme binding these three matches together is that the winning margin has never been more than one goal and bwin is offering 5/4 on this scenario happening again.
It is also worth noting that Reading have not scored in the first half against Newcastle in any of the previous five games both home and away and you can get odds of 17/10 on Reading scoring more in the second 45 minutes than the first.
But whichever way the goals go in, you get the feeling that things may be about to click for Reading and they could find their first win against an inconsistent Newcastle team. And at odds of 39/20, the Royals are certainly worth a few quid this weekend.
Recommended bet: Reading to beat Newcastle @ 39/20
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