The Royals look value to edge past Fulham and into the Championship play-off final.
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The first leg didn’t go according to plan for Fulham but the groundswell of support is still with them, with many backers quick to accentuate the match stats in an attempt to justify their pre-match position that this tie would be a cakewalk. The simple fact is, though, the Cottagers were left frustrated by a game largely played on Reading’s terms.
For all the talk about Jaap Stam and his philosophy, the Dutchman has shown himself to be quite the pragmatist this season, deviating from a default 4-2-3-1 on 20 different occasions to play eight different systems overall. He went 3-4-2-1 at Craven Cottage but must now do without Paul McShane, so who knows what he might have up his sleeve here.
However the Royals line up, they have the element of surprise in their favour. Everybody knows how Fulham like to play but we haven’t seen much evidence of them grinding out results in different ways when the opposition do close the spaces. On that basis, the home win is worth a punt at 11/5. Reading’s home record against top-half opposition speaks for itself: W8 D3 L0.
“These games aren’t just about ability and quality,” says Stam. “It’s about your mind and dealing with the stress.” Fulham might have battered Reading 5-0 back in December but they’ve managed only four shots on target in two subsequent meetings and the Royals have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to make big moments count. Back the Reading 1-0 correct score at 12/1.
Reading v Fulham [1×2] Best Odds : 3.2 ONLY at 1xBet
Tip: Reading 1-0
Reading v Fulham [Correct Score] Best Odds : 13 ONLY at 1xBet