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Reading’s relegation battle assessed

Reading Women have been ever-present in the WSL since the 2016/17 season. That seven-year stay in the topflight could soon be coming to an end for the Royals. They find themselves in a perilous position – bottom of the league, having taken only eleven points from thirteen matches. To put this into context, Manchester United, who are top of the league, have taken more than four times the number of points compared to Reading; which makes for ill ‘reading’ in their survival prospects.

Just three games are left on the table as points will desperately be scrapped for in the coming games. Tough home fixtures against Aston Villa and Chelsea are mixed in-between a crucial trip to Tottenham – who themselves will be looking to secure safety. Having faced off three times this term against the Lilywhites (WSL, FA Cup & League Cup), the Royals have lost only once against Spurs. It’s a statistic that Chambers and co will take confidence from.

Having accumulated only three wins all season in the WSL, Royals boss, Kelly Chambers, has reiterated that her side need at least two wins from their remaining fixtures if they are with a chance of retaining their topflight status. After their defeat to Manchester City, Chambers said, “There’s no hiding from the fact the next two weeks define our season, so we need to be intense in training, keeping the vibe good which it has been, and put in two massive performances than when we look back, we can be proud of”.

And there is hope for the Royals. An early goal for Reading in their match against Manchester City appeared in the first minute from Sanne Troelsgaard. But credit to City, they struck back and showed why they are title contenders – eventually running out 4-1 winners. The defeat to City condemned the Royals to a fourth consecutive defeat, with their last point coming in March in a 2-2 draw with fellow strugglers, Brighton.

It will be interesting to see how the relegation run-in plays out. Equally, Reading will be a team to keep an eye on as they scrap for points in their remaining games. They take on Carla Ward’s Aston Villa this Sunday. Villa are comfortable in mid-table, so reading must look to take advantage from a team that is potentially ‘on the beach’, a phrase so common at this stage of the season.

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