15th September 2012
With neither side registering a victory in the opening three rounds, the clash at Madejski Stadium will have must-win written all over it. Reading are in a slightly better position given that their match against Sunderland was postponed due to adverse weather conditions, while Tottenham cannot afford another slip-up as they attempt to return to the top half of the standings.
Championship title and promotion to the Premiership were just the beginning of the road for Reading as the team still needed to be reinforced before the start of the new season. The club chiefs seem to have done a pretty good job having signed the likes of Danny Guthrie, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter among others, while there were no major departures from Madejski. Reading needed a last-minute penalty to escape defeat in the opening match against Stoke, before recording a 4-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge despite doing really well to match their more illustrious opponents for 80 minutes. Judging by the start of the season, the first signs have been really positive for the Royals, although the hosts will be under pressure in this match after taking just one point from the opening two fixtures. First choice keeper Adam Federici should start despite withdrawing from international duty because of injury, but Jimmy Kebe lacks match fitness having just resumed full training.
Tottenham chiefs are well known for their habit of doing late transfer deals and once again they waited until after the season started to do most of the summer shopping. This time, maybe they were not the only ones to blame as the deals pretty much depended on Luka Modric’s transfer to Real Madrid, which is probably the main reason why Emmanuel Adebayor, Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey and Hugo Lloris were signed so late in the transfer window. The team are now paying the price for hectic dealings in the transfer market, as witnessed by just two points picked up from first three games. Spurs are expected to raise their game as the season unfolds and there are no doubts new players will have benefited from the two-week international break. French keeper Hugo Lloris has failed to convince Andre Villas-Boas he is ready to replace Bred Friedel in goal, but Clint Dempsey is tipped to make his first appearance for the club.
Neither side are exactly firing on all cylinders at the moment, so we could see a dull game at Madejski Stadium. Tottenham are expected to come good any time now, but having won just one of last 11 games on the travels, they cannot be trusted to bring all three points from Reading. Having said that, draw looks the most likely outcome here.
Verdict: Draw (X)
Best Odds: 5/2