Premier League: Manchester United v Reading match preview
A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at Old Trafford
Friday 15 March 2013
Manager-less Reading have lost every one of their last five games, and caretaker manager Eamonn Dolan will struggle to change that against a Manchester United side that have barely broken sweat in all-but securing the Premier League title. United have not lost a single league game since November, and have won every league game since January. Furthermore, they have won every game at Old Trafford save one – a defeat to Spurs in September. A United win and a City loss this weekend would see United go 15 points clear at the top of the table.
A win for Reading here would make for a cushioned landing for Brian McDermott’s successor, and bring them to within one point of Aston Villa if QPR win at Villa Park. It would also inject much-needed self-belief into a team which must be somewhat downtrodden by the events of the last week, and the poor form that preceded it. Manchester United, while dominant in the league, may have been shaken by results in the F.A. Cup, where complacency allowed Chelsea to take the tie to a replay, and in the Champions League, where United were beaten by Real Madrid at home to send them out before the Quarter Finals, since their last league match.
Pavel Pogrebnyak will serve the last match of his suspension for Reading, having been sent off for a dangerous challenge against Wigan three weeks ago. Reading will need Adam Le Fondre, who has ten goals so far this season, to find form in Pogrebnyak’s absence. In December, Reading scored three against United in a 4-3 defeat, showing that they have the attacking resources to pose a threat to the United defence. Finding form in such a turbulent week, and holding back United’s formidable attack, will be a very difficult task however.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.30pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Man Utd 2 (Nani, Hernandez) Reading 1 (McAnuff), FA Cup, February 2013
Reading 3 (Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Morrison) Man Utd 4 (Anderson, Rooney 2, Van Persie), Premier League, December 2012
Reading 0 Man Utd 2 (Rooney, Ronaldo), Premier League, January 2008
If United win six more matches (including this one), even if City win every game, they will win the title three games before the end of the season.
United have hit more than 60% of their shots on target this season, second only to Tottenham in the league.
Reading have hit just over 50% on target, leaving them bottom of the league.
With 56 goals against, Reading have conceded the most goals in the Premier League this season.
With 68 goals for, United have scored the most goals in the Premier League this season. The next highest are Chelsea and Liverpool, with 56.
United have won more 6 more games than any other team in the Premier League. They are bottom of the league for draws, with 2.
Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney have scored 3 more goals this season than the entire Reading team.
Man Utd to win: 0.11
Reading to win: 18.00
TV: Live on ESPN at 5.30pm. Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Liverpool injury news: Brendan Rodgers could be without up to seven players for Burnley game... as Jordon Ibe posts picture of knee brace
Arsenal shareholders Stan Kroenke, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri appear on Forbes' rich list - with a combined net worth of £14.9bn
Watch the moment a basketball player reassures a small boy after a mass brawl erupted on court
Jon Stewart brings The Daily Show to WWE Raw as Seth Rollins pays the price for feud with TV presenter
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin