2016/17 beaten play-off finalists Reading go head-to-head with the most exciting side from last season’s Championship campaign when they host the Cottagers on Saturday afternoon. Neither of these sides got their respective campaigns off to a flying start although they both managed wins in their mid-week League Cup outings and as such confidence will be relatively high in both camps ahead to this weekend’s clash at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading went down to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Queens Park Rangers in their opening game of the new season, Conor Washington scoring a brace for the West Londoners which proved to be the only goals of the game. The Royals managed to put this dismal showing behind them when beating Gillingham in the midweek cup outing however and this weekend’s hosts will be confident of building on this result by collecting all three points against Fulham.
The Cottagers were highly impressive in the latter half of 2016/17 although they stumbled in their opening game of the new campaign when drawing 1-1 with Norwich City at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers looked to have secured a maximum points haul thanks to a 25th minute own-goal from Russell Martin, however Nelson Oliveira came off the bench to score an equaliser with just a couple of minutes left on the clock. Like Reading, they bounced back from this disappointment to win 2-0 against Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup and they too will be optimistic about their chances this weekend.
These two sides met in last season’s play-offs with Reading winning 1-0 at the Madejski and both sides fighting out a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage. Many feel that Fulham are the stronger of the two sides this season however and we are certain of a closely-fought affair on Saturday afternoon. Neither side are shy on the goal-scoring front and we should see both nets bulge this weekend, however we’re less convinced about there being a winner at the final whistle and we believe that the most likely outcome on Saturday afternoon is a draw.