Manchester United v Reading
FA Cup, Fifth Round (18th February, 2013 – 20:00 KO)
Sir Alex Ferguson on Monday’s Fifth Round encounter: “I’ll make some changes for Monday night, even though it’s an incentive to get to the quarter-final. I don’t think that’s lost on any of the players.”
The squad travelled back from Madrid with no fresh injury worries. The knee complaint which kept Paul Scholes out of the Champions League tie will see him miss this FA Cup encounter, too. Other than Darren Fletcher, Sir Alex has a fully-fit and raring-to-go group of players to choose from. Expect several changes, but, with one eye already on the – whisper it – Treble, and the QPR match not until Saturday afternoon, a relatively strong first XI. Nemanja Vidic is likely to start, as is Javier Hernandez. Despite his pleas to “play him every game”, Robin van Persie should find himself on the bench.
Predicted United line-up: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Anderson, Cleverley, Nani, Rooney, Hernandez
FA Cup record at home: P193 W125 D36 L32 F401 A171
FA Cup record v Reading: P12 W6 D5 L1 F24 A12
FA Cup form: L W L D W W
FA Cup 2012/13 so far: West Ham 2-2 United (Third Round), United 1-0 West Ham (Third Round replay), United 4-1 Fulham (Fourth Round)
Royals striker, and boyhood Manchester United fan, Adam le Fondre: “People say it’s a tough game but I relish the prospect of playing against Manchester United – being a fan just spurs me on.”
Reading travel to Old Trafford having just enjoyed a short Dubai-based mid-season training break. Bad news comes, however, in the form of knocks to Mikele Leigertwood and Jimmy Kebe, who are both doubts for Monday night’s game. Veteran striker Jason Roberts (hip) remains on the treatment table. Despite his enthusiasm, le Fondre could find himself on the bench again, from where his impact has been impressive this season. The Royals are in decent form, having taken 14 points from their last 8 league games.
Predicted Reading line-up: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Mariappa, Harte, McAnuff, Guthrie, Karacan, Akpan, McCleary, Pogrebnyak
FA Cup away record: P37 W11 D16 L10 F43 A48
FA Cup form:W W L L W W
FA Cup 2012/13 so far: Crawley Town 1-3 Reading (Third Round), Reading 4-0 Sheffield United (Fourth Round)
Recent meetings at Old Trafford
United 0-0 Reading (12-08-07), United 1-1 Reading (17-02-07), United 3-2 Reading (30-12-06)
Andre Marriner. The 42-year-old has officiated 27 games in all competitions this season, dishing out 80 yellow cards and 2 red cards. He has awarded 3 penalties and last refereed United in their 4-0 at the DW Stadium on New Year’s Day.
2012/13 head-to-head (PL)
Goals: (United) 62 – (Reading) 3
Conceded: 31 – 48
Top scorer: Robin van Persie (19) – Adam le Fondre (10)
Assists: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney (7) – Jobi McAnuff (5)
Most appearances: Robin van Persie (23/3) – Jobi McAnuff (26)
Best passer: Michael Carrick (76.4/87.7%) – Mikele Leigertwood (43.0/75.6%)
Disciplinary: 43 yellows, 0 reds – 31 yellows, 0 reds
Average possession: 56.4% – 40.0%
Pass success rate: 86.2% – 69.2%
Shots per game: 15 – 9.7
Shot conceded per game: 13.5 – 17.6
A goal for Wayne Rooney, should he feature, will see him join Cristiano Ronaldo on a club-record 4 goals v Reading.
Starts for Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick or Wayne Rooney will see them join Darren Fletcher on a club record 7 appearances against the Royals.
Manchester United and Reading are 2 of only 5 clubs yet to have a player sent of in the Premier League this season.
3 goals at Old Trafford will see Reading hit a major FA Cup milestone – 500 goals in the competition.
United always get the easy draw? The Reds find themselves facing Premier League opposition for the seventh successive tie, and the 22nd in 27 FA Cup rounds.
Score prediction: United 3-1 Reading
4 replies on “Match Preview: Manchester United vs Reading (FA Cup)”
I’ve read comments from Sir Alex suggesting that this current squad is better than the 1999 squad. I’ve also read comments from hacks from the Guardian and other arm chair critics that suggest that it’s pure folly. I couldn’t agree with Fergie more and by the way, in my response to writers, you know those folks that like the game, have never played or coached beyond their pub teams, if that, is to repeat that popular ‘saying’ those that can do and those that can;t teach, in this case, write. Simply put, if I am to chose who I believe had more credibility than there will only be one choice, Fergie! And, while I liked Roy Keane, he is no Carrick, just isn’t. Keane wouldn’t survive in today’s football where kicking everything that moved is just not considered football. Keane would not make it in todays game!
I agree with almost everything you wrote. This team is loaded with talent. The depth of this squad is only bested by the 2008 team, imo -in regards to SAF years.
However, the reason why I’m replying is because of the Keano fallacy. Between 1996 and 2002, he was one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world. It’s a great shame when I hear a footy fan only remember the enforcer aspect of his game, not to mention a United supporter. That being said I am a huge fan of Carrick, and I don’t mind that he hasn’t gotten the true credit he deserves. Actually I prefer it that way (like my favorite music), because it feels like I have this great secret that most people fail to notice.
If you think Keane was just a thug, you’re an idiot. As Jake says, watch the season reviews between 1996 and 2002 – Keane was the fulcrum and nearly every goal scored in games he played in came through him. He’d walk into this current team, AND take his number sixteen shirt back.
Fergie should buy wayama begovic and sell nani anderson valencia lindergard and find another midfielder would will relief roony kagawa and ver per see