Reading vs Manchester United
5:30pm, December 1
Manchester United travel to the Madejski Stadium tomorrow evening on the back of two wins but two thoroughly disappointing performances at the hands of Queens Park Rangers and West Ham. After beating QPR last Saturday, a deflected Robin Van Persie shot after just 31 seconds was just about enough to steal the three points against a relatively weak West Ham side on Wednesday night.
Manchester United will be hoping to claim their third win in a week against a Reading side who have struggled in their return season to the Premier League. Reading will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to Aston Villa last Tuesday with former Liverpool youngster Danny Guthrie returning from a thigh problem although winger Jimmy Kebe remains a major doubt for the West London outfit who will be hoping to claim their second win of the season in what would be a giant killing against the out of form reds.
The Royals downfall this season has been their inability to maintain a one or two goal lead, or if you include Arsenal in the Capital One Cup, a four goal lead, conceding 18 second half goals in just 13 Premier League games so far this season. Although, something Manchester United have thrived off this season is going behind early on as they have come back to win from losing positions no more than six times already in the Premier League this season.
Meanwhile, Manchester United will again be without Nani and Antonio Valencia although Paul Scholes is back from a one game ban and Ryan Giggs has been declared fit after complaining about a minor hamstring problem. With only one winger fit, it is expected that Manchester United will play a similar formation to what they played against West Ham on Wednesday night. Deploying a narrow 4-3-3 formation, United’s style of play could fall straight into Reading’s hands as they tend to be a little stronger out on the wings with the likes of Jobi McAnuff and Noel Hunt potential trouble makers for the Reds defence.
Manchester United have never lost against Reading in the Premier League but have only won twice out of the four occasions they have met, drawing the other two times. Although, Reading’s only win against Manchester United came back in 1927 when they triumphed 2-1 in the FA Cup. I expect a very even game given that Reading will have the home advantage but I think United will just about scrape it.
United Predicted XI (4-3-3): De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Cleverley, Scholes, Anderson, Rooney, Van Persie, Young
Predicted score: Reading 0-2 Manchester United