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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot