EPL: Reading Looking to Rebound from Tuesday Loss in Relegation Battle with QPR

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2012

READING, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Reading players show their dissapointment after losing the Capital One Cup Fourth Round match between Reading and Arsenal at Madejski Stadium on October 30, 2012 in Reading, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sunday's match between Reading and QPR at Loftus Road may not be the most glamorous match on the EPL schedule this week, but it is one of the most important matches of the weekend.

Reading come into Sunday's match in better form, with three draws in their last four matches against Newcastle, Swansea and Fulham.

But, the Royals still have a bad taste in their mouth from Tuesday's Capital One Cup collapse against Arsenal, where they lost 7-5 in extra time.

After being up by four goals in the first half, Reading suffered a total collapse, giving up five unanswered goals before tying the match in extra time, only to give up two more goals in the 120th minute to secure a brutal loss at home.

Somehow, Brian McDermott and company now have to regroup and visit QPR on Sunday in a match that will be crucial in the relegation race.

A win on Sunday could catapult the club out of the relegation zone for now, and they have a chance to distance themselves from the bottom of the league table in the next month with five of their next seven EPL matches being against clubs placed below 15th in the table.

The key to Reading succeeding during that stretch of important matches, which also includes a home match with Everton and a trip to Old Trafford, will be Jobi McAnuff.

The club's captain has been their best player all season and has been a key contributor with four assists, which is only one less the league leaders, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata from Chelsea.

While the Jamaican has not scored a goal this season, the Royals have not had a problem in that department, with eight different players scoring the club's 11 goals this season.

However, the Royals have had trouble conceding goals, as they have given up the fourth-most goals of any EPL club, with 17, including seven in their last three EPL matches.

That statistic does not even include the seven they let in on Tuesday in the Capital One Cup loss to Arsenal.

The good news for Reading's defense is that their opponents on Sunday have only scored seven goals this season, which is tied for second-worst in the EPL.

Reading's trip on Sunday to Loftus Road will be a match they must be focused for, and although they suffered a tough loss on Tuesday, they have to focus on what matters the most to the club—surviving in the Premier League for another season.

That quest for survival starts on Sunday in their relegation battle with QPR.