After Brian McDermott’s shock sacking on Monday, Reading have the unenviable task of traveling to Old Trafford to face the current league leaders Manchester United in Saturday’s late kick off.
Both teams are aiming for very different things in the league this year with Manchester United comfortable at the top of the table with a 12 point lead, whereas Reading are fighting for their lives in the relegation battle. All of the big betting firms will be putting this one down as a home banker.
The two teams last met in the Barclays Premier League in December in what proved to be a seven-goal thriller. The Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson called the game at the time “agony” as Reading proved to be no pushovers for the 19 time League champions. Reading matched Manchester United with shots on goal that day with 11 a piece but Reading came out on top with a tackling success rate of 84%.
Their meeting in December was only the third time in Premier league history that seven goals had been scored in the first half, with all goals being scored within just 34 minutes.
Sir Alex will not be hoping for a repeat of this game as Manchester United look to tighten up their defence after conceding two goals to Chelsea in the FA Cup Quarter Final last week, giving away a two goal lead but Manchester United are yet to lose from a winning position at half-time at Old Trafford under Sir Alex.
So far this season Manchester United have conceded just 1.11 goals per game, totaling 31. Reading have conceded on average 1.93 goals per game, a total of 56 and have a goal difference of -21.
Ones to watch
Of course Reading will have to find a way of stopping Robin Van Persie. Despite scoring just one in the past five games, he has already netted 19 goals for Manchester United this season in 25 starts and it is only a matter of time before the Dutchman starts scoring again and what better opportunity than scoring at home against a team fighting against relegation?
Reading’s Adam Le Fondre has scored an impressive 10 goals this season despite making 17 sub appearances. Brian McDermott preferred to utilise him as a ‘super-sub’ but with McDermott gone will Le Fondre begin to start games for the Royals or will he continue with the role that has served Reading well in the Premier League? Le Fondre was branded as ‘too lazy’ when he was on trial at Manchester United playing for the under-9’s and will relish the chance to score the winner at Old Trafford come Saturday evening.
Recent Premier League form
Manchester United have won their last five games and drawn one, collecting 16 points from a possible 18, championship winning form from the Red Devils.
Reading on the other hand have collected just four points from a possible 18, losing four, winning one and drawing one in their last six matches, putting them 19th in the table on 23 points, the same as bottom of the league QPR with just goal difference separating the two. Reading lost their relegation six-pointer last weekend against Aston Villa after taking the lead from an Aston Villa own goal within 33 minutes.
Manchester United will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League with a win at Old Trafford on Saturday and Reading will be looking to secure three points to make sure their fight for a Premier League place next season continues. This will also be an opportunity for the players to impress the new manager whomever he may be.
If the previous encounter in the Premier League is anything to go by this is sure to be an interesting one.
Match Odds via bwin Bets
£20 wins you:
van Persie to break duck & score hat-trick: £200
United to win 4-0: £180
Reading to score 2 goals: £125
Lightning strikes twice – 7 goals in the game: £290
Le Fondre to score first goal: £420
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