Manchester United are soaring high thanks to a four-game winning streak at the Premier League, but The Red Devils are keen to extend their winning run in another competition. Considering the EPL will take a one-week break due to the third round of the FA Cup, Manchester United will shift their focus towards England’s oldest tournament. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men will debut against Reading, a side that is currently struggling at the Championship level. The match will start at 15:30 BST.
Manchester United do not have many updates from the club’s last game at Newcastle. Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo remain unavailable for this game, while Eric Bailly will be out for the second straight game since he’s paying a three-match ban. Marouane Fellaini could be involved depending on how he looks during Friday’s training session, and Scott McTominay is doubtful. Another player that will be a game-time decision will be Paul Pogba, as the star midfielder sustained a knock following a harsh challenge from Jonjo Shelvey during the Newcastle match. Last but not least, Solskjaer confirmed both Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku will start following their recent absences.
Reading, who sit second from bottom in the Championship, could welcome back defenders Chris Gunter and Liam Moore for Saturday’s tie. However, Leandro Bacuna and Tyler Blackett will be suspended after being sent off against Millwall. Long-term absentees Paul McShane, Saeid Ezatolahi and Jordan Obita will also miss the game through injury. And Dutch midfielder Pelle Clement left the club on Wednesday to join PEC Zwolle in his native country.
Manchester United are playing at a very high level right now, and currently ride a four-game winning streak at the Premier League. Plus, earlier this week they picked up the first clean sheet of the Solskjaer era during the 2-0 win over Newcastle. Now they will shift their focus to the FA Cup, a competition where Manchester United have been quite successful in recent years. The Red Devils lifted the trophy in the 2015-16 season, and lost the Final last season against Chelsea. Now they will try to take one more step, and Reading represent their first hurdle on the road towards the title.
Meanwhile, Reading have been quite poor this season and currently sit in relegation zone in the Championship. The Royals currently sit in 23rd place of the Championship standings having picked up just 20 points from their 26 league games so far. In fact, their last win came all the way back in November 3, when they defeated Bristol City by a 3-2 score. Last season, they reached the FA Cup fourth round, but lost 3-1 at Sheffield Wednesday.
What is our recent record against Reading?
Manchester United’s supremacy against Reading is quite noticeable. In 20 previous matches, Manchester United own a W12, D7, L1 mark against The Royals, with the first match coming all the way in the 1912 (!!) FA Cup third round. 14 of the previous meetings have been in the FA Cup, with the other six coming in the Premier League. The most recent meeting between these two sides was two years ago at Old Trafford. Manchester United won that game 4-0 thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford, and goals from Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial.
Manchester United have not lost since the interim appointment of Solskjaer. Reading, on the other hand, have been struggling in England’s second-tier. As if the home advantage wasn’t enough, the form of both sides has been opposite all season long. Therefore, United shouldn’t have problems to secure the win in this one.