Berkshire news Is it time for Reading to rest Rafa? MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Brazilian again had a poor game during Royals' latest defeat
Breaking News ! Rafael's position as Reading no.1 again came into question on Saturday afternoon following the 4-2 defeat at AFC Bournemouth. The Brazilian endured a difficult afternoon on the south coast as Royals let slip a 2-0 lead to lose for the fourth successive match. Veljko Paunovic's side have now conceded as many as 15 goals in their past five Championship games. Incredibly, they have gone from being the best side in the country defensively to the worst. So how much of the responsibility rests with the man between the sticks? Find out how you can get the latest news from BerkshireLive delivered straight to your inbox Certainly, at the start of the season, Rafael, like the rest of the backline, was rock solid. In the first seven games of the campaign, the former Napoli and Sampdoria goalkeeper was beaten just once (in the 2-1 win at Cardiff City). During this time, he also made a number of crucial stops - particularly late on in games which would have tested his concentration - to help the team see out victories. However, the roles have now been reversed and he is being beaten with ease. After conceding twice at Blackburn, Rafael has let in three goals against Coventry City, Preston North End and Stoke City, and now four against AFC Bournemouth. Read More Related Articles Reading FC moments missed - agonising Joao header, Aluko's passion and manager mind games Read More Related Articles The disastrous stat which highlights Reading FC's woeful defensive displays in past five matches The 6ft 1in shotstopper has been powerless to prevent some of the goals going in, but he has definitely been at fault for several of them. Granted Bournemouth's fourth goal came in the 89th minute when Royals were chasing the game, but he still should have done better when he came sprinting out of his goal to clear the ball. Instead of helping it clear, he inexplicably passed the ball straight to Dominic Solanke who subsequently outmuscled him and fired into the net to put the result beyond any doubt. It is not the first time Rafael has cost the side a goal in recent weeks. He was at fault for Stoke's second goal during their 3-0 win at Madejski Stadium two weeks ago when he passed straight to the opposition when clearing the ball. Dominic Solanke scores Bournemouth's first goal (Image: Getty Images) In the Coventry defeat, he let a 30-yard strike by Sam McCallum through his hands which ultimately cost Royals a point. At other times he has looked nervous both positionally and playing out from the back and although he has redeemed himself with a number of fine stops - not to mention a penalty save against Preston - would he benefit from a spell out of the side? Arguably, he is experiencing the toughest spell of his Reading career so if there was ever a time to take him out the firing line, it would surely be now. Current no.2 Luke Southwood has been waiting patiently in the wings having dislodged Sam Walker from the substitutes' bench for this season. The former England youth international made his long-awaited Reading debut earlier this season in the Carabao Cup having come through the academy ranks and produced an assured performance. Read More Related Articles Reading FC manager Veljko Paunovic on the Bournemouth defeat, second half collapse and defensive woes Read More Related Articles Reading FC defender self isolating due to coronavirus The 22-year-old has had three different loans spells in recent years, firstly at Bath City, then Eastleigh and last year at Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership.
. Undoubtedly making the step up to Championship level would be his biggest and toughest challenge to date. But if he isn't given an opportunity now, when does he get one? It could well be his final chance given his contract is up next summer. Rafael's experience and leadership should not be underestimated and he is a bright, positive influence in the dressing room. He will be the first person to say he has not been good enough in recent weeks and will be determined to put things right.
Reading goalkeeper Luke Southwood
(Image: Eddie Greville)
In a recent Twitter poll, we asked fans for their thoughts on whether there should be a change in goalkeeper for Reading. Judging by the results, supporters are rather split about the prospect of taking Rafa out and giving Southwood a go. Boss Veljko Paunovic will be giving careful consideration to the idea as he aims to fix what has become an increasingly leaky defence. Although Royals' first half showing against Bournemouth suggested they were back to their best, the second half display has thrown everything up in the air. Reading's recent slump - not just in results but also performances - is starting to cause alarm and with a hectic fixture list coming up it could work one of two ways. Just as winning was a habit at the start of the season, losing is becoming one as well and Paunovic must do all he can to put things right. The lack of depth in the squad doesn't give the Serbian too much room for chopping and changing his team. So the biggest call facing him right now could be who he chooses between the sticks.
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Join us on Wednesday night Reading are back in Championship action when they travel to London to take on Millwall at The Den. Kick-off on Wednesday night is at 7pm. Join us for full coverage of the game throughout the evening with all of the build-up starting in our live blog from 5pm. Keep an eye out for a live video on our dedicated Reading FC page on Facebook as well post match.
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