With both Reading and Aston Villa conceding goals for fun, this is unlikely to be one of those scrappy low-scoring relegation derbies. Given that both sides will be desperate for a win at Madejski, we might just see an entertaining encounter and plenty of goals at both ends instead.
Reading may be situated in the relegation zone with just 10 games to go, but considering the pre-season predictions, the Royals have done well to stay within the touching distance of safety. At one point it looked as though they would not be able to escape the drop, but several impressive home performances changed everything, and the hosts will certainly be hoping they produce another one of those. Despite the pretty difficult fixture list, the Royals have been scoring quite few goals of late, having just once failed to score in last 12 fixtures, but their shaky back line is proving to be a major liability. After conceding three goals to relegation rivals Wigan in their last home match, Reading back line could find it hard to stop the likes of Benteke, Agbonlahor and Weimann from scoring.
Aston Villa may have been in and around the relegation zone from the very start to the season, but Paul Lambert is hardly the man to blame for it. He has inherited a squad deprived of key players from last season, and was denied the resources needed to replace the departed players. With the team going through one of the biggest injury crisis in years, the reality is Lambert has done brilliantly to keep his side in with a chance of surviving the drop. While Villa were unable to stop conceding cheap goals with a hugely inexperienced defence, Christian Benteke has been absolutely amazing up front, with Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann and Charles N’Zogbia also chipping in. In all fairness, Villa have been playing great football over the last few weeks and I can certainly see them getting something from the Madejski Stadium.