Match Previews

Match Preview: Manchester United vs Reading


Emirates FA Cup third round day returns; as United host Reading to kick things off.

In midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjær got his first clean sheet and made it four wins on the spin but visiting manager José Gomes comes into this one off the back of a contrasting start to 2019 – branding his side ‘unacceptable’ in their last outing.

It should an intriguing one at Old Trafford, with both managers in only their second months in their respective jobs.

Kick-off: 12:30 [GMT]
Venue: Old Trafford
Referee: Stuart Attwell
UK television channel:
 BT Sport 2

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The Royals

Position: 23rd

Recent form: LDLLD

Top scorer: Jon Dadi Bödvarsson [7]

Most assists: Leandro Bacuna [3]

One to watch: Yakou Meite

Previous result: Reading 1-4 Swansea City

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Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Saeid Ezatolahi (three weeks)
  • Chris Gunter – muscle (late fitness test)
  • Jordan Obita – Cruciate ligament (back in training)
  • Paul McShane – knee (back in training)

Expected lineup

(4-2-3-1) Jaakkola: Yiadom, Moore, Ilori, Richards; Swift, Rinomhota; McCleary, Meite, Barrow; Bödvarsson.

Quote from the boss

“These players, and it’s my opinion, if nobody is on the bench, they can win without one [a manager]. You can’t say they are stronger now to in the past. It doesn’t matter the manager during the week – they can win the matches.” – José Gomes

Next match: Nottingham Forest [H] 12/1/19

The Red Devils

Talking points

2019 began with a brilliant 0-2 win at St. James’ Park, giving United their first clean sheet of the campaign.

It was hard-fought on Tyneside and some first team regulars are expected to be rested, giving opportunities for fringe players and youngsters to make their mark.

Plenty of rotation is expected, with Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku confirmed to be starting the game.

Reading at home was the exact same fixture two years ago in this round, as United also came off a fruitful festive period, with Wayne Rooney equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goalscoring record for the club in a 4-0 win.

The transfer window is now open, with Solskjær is “sure” that he will have some involvement if any deals are made for players coming in or going out.

Former red defenders Tyler Blackett, Paul McShane and John O’Shea are at Reading, although may not feature given their recent poor form.

The team will also take a trip to Dubai following this encounter, as they work on their fitness ahead of a crunch match against Tottenham Hotspur next weekend.

Defeat in the final to Chelsea last season will still be stinging in the squad as they aim to equal the record of all-time wins in the competition.

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Injuries/suspensions (estimated return)

  • Paul Pogba – thigh (a few days)
  • Marcos Rojo – knock (day to day)
  • Chris Smalling – foot (unknown)

Expected lineup

(4-2-3-1) Romero; Dalot, Lindelöf, Jones, Young; A. Pereira, Fred; Chong, Lingard, Sánchez; Lukaku.

Quote from the boss

“You know we’re about winning trophies, of course, and the FA Cup final is such a fantastic final to play in. Whatever competition you’re in, you want to win when you’re a big club like United.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjær

 Next match: Tottenham Hotspur [A] 13/1/19

Potential key battles

– Romelu Lukaku vs Tiago Ilori

– Fred vs John Swift

– Victor Lindelöf vs Jon Dadi Bödvarsson

Match facts [credit: FotMob]

  • United have lost just one of their 14 FA Cup matches against Reading (W8 D5) and are unbeaten against them in the competition since a 1-2 defeat in a second round three replay back in January 1927 (W7 D2)
  • This will be the seventh consecutive season Reading will be starting their FA Cup campaign away from home, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their previous six third round games
  • Since a 1-2 defeat against Swansea City at this stage in 2013-14, the Red Devils have won each of their four games in the third round without conceding a single goal
  • When the Royals visited Old Trafford in 2017, were third in their current division (under former red Jaap Stam) – but they now sit second bottom with the second worst wins and second most losses after 26 games

Enjoy the match!

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