Reading face an incredibly tough task as they travel to Old Trafford to take on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Manchester United. The Red Devils’ form has improved massively since Jose Mourinho’s departure last month, with four wins in their four games since Ole’s return.
United have been lethal going forward under Solskjær, scoring 14 goals under his management, and the Royals’ defence will more than likely be in for a long afternoon, trying to defend against the on-fire United front-line. That most notably includes Marcus Rashford, who has been on a rich vein of form recently and could really hurt our defence.
The Royals will need to avoid giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas, especially considering the ability of Marcus Rashford and Ashley Young (assuming they make an appearance) from dead-ball situations. They could really hurt us if we aren’t careful around the penalty area. The Red Devils like to attack down the left-hand side of the pitch, with 45% of their play so far this season coming down that side. So that means whoever is playing right-back for the Royals will be in for a tough afternoon on Saturday.
Manchester United have dominated possession since Solskjær took over, with 67.75% average possession in the four fixtures since his appointment. This could mean it might be a clash of two teams who both like to keep the ball, but I have a feeling whose attempt at keeping possession will be more successful. The only way Reading could have any success in this game is if the Red Devils play a significantly weaker side, but even then the Royals have a chance.
It is going to be a very, very long afternoon for the Royals on Saturday, and I can’t see anything other than a high-scoring victory for the Red Devils. Reading could be optimistic from the precedent of Derby County turning up to Old Trafford and getting a result earlier this season, but I strongly doubt Jose Gomes’ side will be able to replicate that.
I am going to go with 5-0 to Solskjær’s side, and that is not going to do anything for the Royals’ confidence going into the second half of the season. Players like Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez will have an absolute field day against the Royals if they play, and all three could cause some real damage.