As the Week 29 of the Premier League lures us into the final 10 matches of the season, one can be sure to expect many a twist over this weekend. Although every premier league fan would know that twists (or) shocks wouldn’t be a part of this match, simply because of one reason – Manchester United have a manager who has been at the helm for quarter of a century, knowing what it takes to cancel out matches towards the end of the season while challenging for titles. Whereas Reading go into the Theatre of Dreams for the second time within a month, but this time with an Interim manager who has just started on!
Manchester United started out positively on both the matches last week against Real Madrid and Chelsea, which were considered to be their season defining matches. But as we all know, a good start is just a job half done and the opposition can never be counted out! That is exactly what the Red Devils found out. Some controversial decisions and some brilliant tactical decisions from the opposition manager caught them short. A cup exit at the hands of Real Madrid followed by a near cup exit at home in FA cup if not for David De Gea, would have dented the players confidence. But if there was a match which could bring them back to the form that they are known for, it would be this match where their opposition’s confidence has hit rock bottom.
The Red Devils have been supreme in the Premier League for the last 4 months as many a team have failed hard in defeating them. Many of the plaudits for this show should be showered upon their much improved defense, where finally Sir Alex Fergusson has found the right balance with Rio Ferdinand and their skipper Vidic at the heart of their Defense and the Spaniard Keeper De Gea is finally proving his worth by single handedly earning his team a replay in the FA cup. Their midfield with lots of options to choose from has been solid mainly for two reasons – they have their entire team available for selection and second – most of them are fresh and raring to have a go. Their only area of concern would be the form of their Wingers – Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and their striker Robin Van Persie who is currently going through a lean patch in front of the goal. Manchester United were caught short in both these areas against a Chelsea side that were steaming on every drop of the pin. With a match against Reading side who are struggling themselves, this could be the perfect opportunity for these two Red Devils to prove their worth’s once again.
Time and again the owners of different teams have proved that no job, not even the Manager’s position is safe. Sacking Brian McDermott was a harsh decision made for many reasons. One solid reason being, he had an attacking style of football, Reading were unlucky most of the times to have missed out on valuable points and were a team who was a Work In Progress. Many a manager from the other teams agreed that McDermott would have been the right man to take the club forwards but that’s the reason why they aren’t the owners of the club, making decisions. But if there was a single reason the Royals can take solace from, it would be the fact that they have knocked 4 goals past this Manchester united team in what was a thrilling 4-3 fixture they lost. They have a team that can score goals it is the consistency they lack at this point of time, which would be the top priority for the interim manager to bring about.
They have scored 35 times, which shows the potential in front of the field. But it is their back four that have cost them, conceding 56 times. Le fondre, Robson Kanu and Apkan would be their go to players, if at they threaten to mount some serious challenge tonight at the theatre of dreams, with Mariappa and Pearce needing to improve and stay sturdy in front of a lethal Manchester united frontline.
Nani and Phil Jones are the ones who will be missing out due to hamstring injury and ankle injuries respectively while Paul Scholes is still out with a knee injury.
Man United (From): De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Rafael, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evans, Evra, Buttner, Giggs, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Anderson, Young, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney, Hernandez, Van Persie.
Reading will be without Adam Federici and Jimmy Kebe as Federici is still sidelined by an ankle problem, Reading will also be without the services of winger Kebe who is out with a groin injury while Pavel Pogrebnyak serves the last part of his three-game ban and fellow striker Jason Roberts who suffered a hip injury is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Reading (from): Taylor, McCarthy, Henly, Harte, Mariappa, Pearce, Morrison, Kelly, Shorey, McAnuff, McCleary, Guthrie, Leigertwood, Karacan, Blackman, Le Fondre, Akpan, Robson-Kanu, Hunt.
4 points into the relegation zone, equal on points with the much confident QPR side a point here tonight against the champions elect Manchester United side would all they can hope for, unless United play out of their ways to lose at home. But we never would know, it is these kinds of situations where certain opponents thrive upon as they have nothing to lose, bringing me memories of the 3-2 defeat that United got at the hands of Blackburn last season.
Manchester United 4 – 1 Reading.