Reading could make it to the last eight of this year’s FA Cup on Tuesday night, if they can overcome Premier League side Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium.
Chris Wilder’s side are no mugs, and currently sit eighth in the top flight of English football. However, with a noisy home atmosphere, an upset could be on the cards. The last time that the Royals reached the quarter finals was in 2015/16 under Brian McDermott.
A 2-0 home loss against Crystal Palace prevented the club from reaching their second successive FA Cup semi-final, although they will be close to reaching Wembley once again if they can come out victorious in this tie.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of arguably the most exciting game of the season so far. Come on URZ!
What? FA Cup Round 5
Who? Sheffield United
Where? Madejski Stadium
When? Tuesday 3rd March 2020 (8pm KO)
Our last FA Cup clash
Cardiff City 3 – 3 Reading (1-4 pens)
Josh Murphy got the home side off to a good start when he capitalised on a poor Charlie Adam pass to fire home past Sam Walker in the Reading net. It looked like the Royals were out of the competition shortly after half time when Robert Glatzel calmly converted a one-on-one opportunity to put the home side 2-0 up.
However, two expertly-taken goals within ten minutes from Omar Richards and Andy Rinomhota tied the game up, taking the replay to extra time. The away side’s hard work may have come to nothing when Murphy grabbed his second just a couple of minutes in to extra time. A rare mistake from Gabriel Osho left Murphy with a golden opportunity, and he made no mistake in making it 3-2.
However, the Royals didn’t give up and found themselves level again in the second half of extra time when a perfectly-placed Jordan Obita cross was volleyed home by Yakou Meite. Penalties then had to decide who would go through to the fifth round.
Well taken spot-kicks from Garath McCleary, Gabriel Osho, Jordan Obita and Sone Aluko, coupled with two Cardiff misses, sent the Royals through, where they now face Premier League side Sheffield United. Can the Royals continue their FA Cup journey beyond midweek?
The Last Meeting
Sheffield United 4 – 0 Reading
The Royals got off to the worst possible start, and conceded within a minute when Kieran Freeman tapped home from close range. Gary Madine made matters even worse for the away side when a mix up between Emi Martinez and Liam Kelly caused the Reading defence to panic.
The ball eventually fell to Madine, who made no mistake in firing the ball home. This was the game where Liam Kelly and Ovie Ejaria both had to come off early as well. Is it fair to say this game was a complete and utter disaster.
Madine grabbed his second and the Blades’ third shortly before half time. What an awful half. Things got even worse less than five minutes after the restart, when John Fleck’s shot deflected off Matt Miazga and in to the Reading net. I suppose the only positive we could take from this was the fact that the home side didn’t go on to score even more. It finished 4-0 – now let’s move on quickly to the stats! Be warned – they won’t make you feel any better…
- Reading have kept just two clean sheets in their 12 games so far in 2020.
- The Royals have won just one of their previous ten games against Sheffield United.
- Sheffield United have lost just two of their 13 away games in the Premier League so far. Can they replicate this great form away in Berkshire in the FA Cup?
- In these 13 away league games, they have conceded just 12 goals. This is a brilliant record for a side who was in the Championship last season.
Likely Reading lineup: Rafael, Richards, Moore, Miazga, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Swift, Olise, Ejaria, Meite, Puscas
Although Rafael has missed out on most FA Cup games so far this season, he may make his maiden start to in the competition as the Royals look to field a strong side against the Premier League outfit. He’s been a very capable replacement for Emiliano Martinez, and dare I say it, he’s probably in content for a Player of the Season at this moment in time.
Omar Richards may come back in for Jordan Obita, with Mark Bowen still wary that Obita still needs to be looked after even after recovering from his long-term injury. It could also be a fantastic opportunity for Richards, who’s rarely played in a game of this magnitude for the senior side.
In the heart of defence, Bowen could have a hard time picking his pairing. Liam Moore is likely to be fit again after illness ruled him out of last weekend’s tie against Barnsley. However, Matt Miazga played well against the Tykes, and will feel aggrieved if he doesn’t retain his place for this FA Cup tie. Michael Morrison has played a lot of games so far this season and could probably do with a break. He could be the man to miss out this Tuesday. Andy Yiadom is in line to start again.
Bowen may opt to keep the same midfield that started against Barnsley at the weekend to maintain consistency within the starting eleven. John Swift and Ovie Ejaria both are seen as the Royals’ key players, whilst Andy Rinomhota continues to prove why he should be in the starting lineup every week. Michael Olise could have also earned his place in the first eleven, whilst Yakou Meite has been a regular within the side and is likely to start again.
George Puscas is also likely to start again, although he will need support if he’s to be a key player for the Royals this midweek. Being up front on your own against a Premier League defence is no easy task - let’s hope the Romanian forwards can step up to the plate and be Reading’s hero.
There’s no doubt that we will raise our game for this Tuesday, considering the magnitude of the game and the quality of the opposition. However, this is unlikely to be enough for the Royals, however much I want to believe that we could reach another quarter-final. We won’t be beaten by much, but I think our FA Cup adventure will come to an end this Tuesday. A narrow 1-0 loss is what I’m going to go for. Let’s hope the home side can prove me wrong!
Score Prediction: Reading 0 – 1 Sheffield United
Other FA Cup fifth round ties
Tuesday 3rd March:
Chelsea vs Liverpool (7:45pm KO)
West Bromwich Albion vs Newcastle United (8pm KO)
Wednesday 4th March (7:45pm KO):
Leicester City vs Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday vs Manchester City
Tottenham Hotspur vs Norwich City
Thursday 5th March (7:45pm KO):
Derby County vs Manchester United