Okay, I confess. If Watford hadn’t won on Saturday, this would have been about half a paragraph long because we’d have had the title and Reading are out of playoff contention so both teams would be on the beach. Yarmouth admittedly, but the beach nonetheless.
But bloody Sarr had to go and score didn’t he? So here we go.
Reading flew out of the traps at the start of the season but have had all the consistency of cold cat sick in recent months.
In Ejaria and Olise they have real genuine talent, and when he’s fit and in form Lucas Joao is one of the biggest striking threats in the league. So the fact that they’ve dropped off the pace at the end of the season must drive their fans mad.
Given that they have nothing to play for, it could go one of four ways:
1. Reading have all mentally checked out and Norwich batter the living daylights out of them.
2. Veljko Paunovic, sensing that morale is low and his players might not all be at the races, shuffles the pack, brings in a few youngsters and enthusiastic fringe players which amounts to an open, fun game in which Norwich eventually triumph because we’re not top of the league for no reason.
3. Now that the pressure of playing for results is effectively off their shoulders, Reading may relax and play the football that they’re capable of, mindful in some cases that they’re effectively playing for their future at the club.
4. That bloke on Twitter was right earlier in the season and Reading are definitely a better team than Norwich, man-for-man, in which case we sit back on our Premier League laurels and await the blue-and-white-striped whirlwind to crush us beneath its mighty wake.
Now, I’m no Nostradamus, but I’m not seeing Option 4 happening any time soon.
Option 3 is worst case scenario, but psychologically after the creeping disappointment of losing out on the play-offs, the last thing these guys want to do is come to Carrow Road and try and stop us becoming Champions.
For all their individual quality, the one question mark I’ve had over Reading all season is whether they work hard and want it enough. Some teams with nothing else to play for would see Norwich (a) as a free hit and a fun game to try and raise their level for. I’m not sure this is how these guys operate.
Ultimately of course, it’s not about what Reading do, but whether they have anything in their arsenal which could stop us right now.
While City have spluttered a little in losing to Bournemouth and Watford, we moved back up a gear against QPR, and Teemu is due to end his run of missed chances soon.
Do Reading want to try and park the bus and frustrate us to try and earn a point that doesn’t matter?
Will they want to put in the legwork to try and close down Buendia, Dowell and Cantwell from drifting into pockets of space between the lines?
Will they outfight Skipp and McLean in the midfield trenches, which nobody else has managed to do all season?
I’m predicting that by 5:00 on Saturday we’ll be Champions once more.