Premier League: Manchester United v Reading match preview

A look ahead to this weekend's Premier League fixture at Old Trafford

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



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

Draw: 7.50


TV: Live on ESPN at 5.30pm. Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly finalists Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridge
tvLive: Simon Webbe, Caroline Flack, Mark Wright and Frankie Bridgeface-off in the final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas