Manchester United vs Reading: Potential XI with Rashford and Mata

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United can extend their winning streak to eight games against Reading in the third round of the FA Cup next Saturday.

Jose Mourinho‘s men continued their superb run of form against West Ham United on Monday, cruising to an ultimately comfortable 2-0 win.

Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford, with their side struggling to break the home side down, changed the game from the bench in the second half, combining brilliantly to put Man United ahead in the 63rd minute.

With that in mind, here is a potential XI for the game against Jaap Stam’s side

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Rashford had somewhat dipped under the radar prior to United’s visit to the Olympic stadium. His last start dates back to late November, and questions were beginning to arise regarding how exactly the youngster would reassert himself on the starting XI.

His performance against Slaven Bilic’s men provided an emphatic answer: the 19-year-old, who came on after 58 minutes, was an effervescent force on the left hand side, refusing to give right back Håvard Nordtveit – and indeed West Ham’s entire back four – a moment’s peace. Mourinho will be keen on handing Rashford another chance to wreak havoc against the Championship side.

But it should be noted that, for all of the Englishman’s brilliance, Mata’s presence was also invaluable. His subtlety and craft going forward bamboozled a tiring West Ham side – something illustrated in perfect fashion by his goal, which saw the Spaniard ghost into the box unnoticed before rifling home. It was, in many ways, a textbook Mata performance, and he could enjoy plenty of joy against Reading.

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