Tom Hancock assesses three different perspectives of Tuesday night's Championship meeting with the Royals at Adams Park.
16.57: Miles between Adams Park and the Madejski Stadium as the crow flies
That’s only about 500 metres closer than Watford’s Vicarage Road, but it means this is our most local possible league fixture. Tuesday night’s clash will be the first league meeting between the teams at Adams Park in the best part of two decades, though. The last took place 19 years ago this coming Friday, a 2-0 win for a Reading side on their way to promotion from the third tier.
As such, this doesn’t feel much like a derby as no meaningful rivalry has been allowed to develop. There have been a couple of cracking games between the sides, however, most notably Wycombe’s only league win over the Royals in October 1999. A Sean Devine hat-trick and goals from Keith Ryan and Dave Carroll fired Wanderers to a thrilling 5-3 victory in South Bucks.
8: Goals fewer than expected goals scored by Wycombe (via Infogol)
Basically, we’ve scored 22 goals this season but would have expected to score 30 based on the quality of the chances we’ve created. In simple terms, expected goals calculates the probability that a shot will result in a goal, based on thousands of similar historic shots and taking into account factors such as how far out the shot was taken from, which body part the player shot with, and the positioning of defenders and the goalkeeper. It might help to look at it as ‘scoring probability’.
Our goals output relative to xG is the sixth-lowest in the Championship. A slight underperformance (i.e. where a team has only scored a goal or two below what would be expected) over a sustained period can often be put down to bad luck or goalkeepers pulling off an unusually high amount of saves they wouldn’t normally make, but a higher underperformance generally means a team has been wasteful in front of goal. That said, the data suggests that Wycombe have become much more clinical over the past seven games or so, a period which has just so happened to coincide with Uche Ikpeazu’s long-awaited emergence in the quarters.
As for Reading, their numbers pin them as the fourth most clinical side in the league, having scored almost five (4.9 to be precise) goals more than expected (39.1). Take away penalties and the Royals are, per xG, the division’s ninth-most creative outfit, while Wycombe rank 21st by the same measure with or without penalties. We ought to see the net bulge in this one, though, as the hosts’ and visitors’ matches so far this season have produced an average of 2.43 and 2.58 goals respectively.
461: Reading appearances between Garath McCleary and Jordan Obita
McCleary and Obita spent eight years together at the Madejski Stadium, with the former signing for the Royals ahead of their 2012/13 Premier League campaign, in which he played in 31 out of 38 games and scored three goals. Reunited at Wycombe after both being released by Reading last summer, this will be the first time either has come up against the club where they’re fondly remembered – and where Obita came through the academy.
What’s more, both were born in Oxford. As a youngster, McCleary had a short spell at Oxford United before starting his career with Oxford City, while Obita left the Us last month to get Championship football.