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Reload, regroup and take another step towards the title

Sir Alex & Brian McDermott Ex-Reading ManagerUnited welcome managerless Reading to Old Trafford on Saturday for the second time in four weeks hoping to make it six league wins in a row and take another step toward recapturing the Premier League title.

Reading arrive with, I guarantee it, huge intrepidation knowing United have just suffered a massively disappointing week with the loss to Real Madrid and the hapless capitulation against Chelsea fresh in their minds and an eagerness to start afresh putting those memories behind them. That spells danger for Reading, beware the wounded beast!

Unbeaten in the league since November, United find themselves hot favourites to produce a performance akin to that of ‘Sprinter Sacre’ at Cheltenham this week. He won by 19 lengths and Betegy suggest United could win by an equally large margin.

Sprinter SacreSir Alex Ferguson’s men could welcome back Nemanja Vidic and Robin Van Persie, who both started on the bench last time out, though Phil Jones, Paul Scholes and Nani are all out.

The visitors parted company with Brian McDermott on Monday after a run four straight Premier League defeats left them four points from safety, a decision Sir Alex has called “astonishing really”. Sir Alex acknowledged McDermott’s winning of the Manager of the Month in January then remarked “I hope I don’t win Manager of the Month!”

Reading’s latest defeat came at the hands of fellow relegation threatened Aston Villa and caretaker manager Eamonn Dolan could hardly have been handed a tougher test to get his side back on track.

The Royals will be without injured trio Adam Federici, Jimmy Kebe and Jason Roberts, while Pavel Pogrebnyak completes a three match ban.

This is the third meeting between the sides in three and half months, with United winning the FA Cup fifth round tie having also come out on top in a remarkable league fixture at the Madjeski Stadium back in December.

United v Reading Formation March 2013Sir Alex Ferguson’s men edged a seven goal thriller, with the entire scoring taking place in the opening 34 minutes. Betegy predict a more one sided affair this time around with United giving Reading almost no hope of protecting their goal from the many goalscoring dangers United pose.

Sir Alex will probably be wishing he could give Michael Carrick a rest but I see little in the way of options(which backs up everyone’s theory that we’re weak in central midfield – as if we needed any!).

As always it feels a bit fruitless predicting a starting XI but with the few injury niggles and players needing to recharge after a bruising week, I reckon tomorrow’s lineup could be something of a mish-mash in the hope Reading don’t give us the same problems we encountered at their place.

Betegy have introduced a new test area to put their predictions through their paces, why not have a look for yourself? It’s a well maintained and simple to use site that’s produced many impressive predictions already this season and it’s only getting better as the data it uses builds and builds.



  1. Warzycha

    16 March 2013 at 14:24

    Macini is really … shitty

  2. Moscow

    16 March 2013 at 18:19

    So this is what we are without Carrick. The midfield is embarassing.

  3. boring

    16 March 2013 at 18:36

    This team really sucks. Against Reading, other than a fluke goal ..create nothing.

  4. Opti

    16 March 2013 at 19:59

    Job done. 15 points ahead.

    But it was mind-numbing to sit through that match. Did we actually challenge their goalkeeper during this match? We barely managed to keep possession and scored off a mega-deflection.

    If 30 poor minutes against Madrid killed our Champions League hopes and 60 awful minutes almost killed our FA Cup hopes, then at least we stayed on course for the Premier League with the 1-0 win today, despite not being at our 3rd best.

    Another week to get it right.

    COME ON YOU RED DEVILS. Let’s get back to business!!!

    Quick ratings:
    De Gea: 6 – wasn’t needed today. 1 shot on goal for reading?

    Büttner: 5 – was below par. Made Evra look good 😀
    Smalling: 6 – good aerial presence, but not Rafael going forward.
    Vidic: 6 – is quite dangerous in his approach to defense. Heads like no other but could have seen penalty against push.
    Rio: 7.5 – he is hitting a rich vein of form this season. Great assist/run for the goal.

    Anderson: 6 – anonymous with a few key passes in 1st half
    Giggs: 6 – hard working, long passing didn’t improve possesion
    Young: 6 – poor. He has been found out. I honestly prefer Vally at his worst to Young. 😳

    RvP: 5 – couldn’t pass or shoot today. Worst game in United jersey? Has he run out of steam or lost motivation?
    Rooney: 6.5 – good striker and luck deflection. Hard worker.
    Welbeck: 6 – had a decent 1st half, disappeared in 2nd half.His one chance was off target (per normal). 22 league games since his last league goal… and chicharito is on bench why?

    We’re in a slump with Rooney/Defense carrying us at the moment. 500+ minutes since last goal conceded against us in league… whatever that means 😉

    • The_Philosopher

      19 March 2013 at 09:44

      @Opti: Ashley Young is absolute rubbish on the left flank.

      He might be better in the middle (But Kagawa and Rooney are better there) or on the right flank.

      You can’t put a talentless right footed player on the left flank.

  5. ForeverRed

    17 March 2013 at 01:35

    Gutless is an apt description for us at the moment. Yes we won, but we’re stooping to new depths in our inability to retain possession or maintain tempo in our performance. Collectively, the players on the pitch today earned in the region of 1.5M for their efforts – with one or two exceptions, as professionals paid to entertain, that’s disgraceful. Too many players just plain not good enough and others not appearing to give a rat’s ass. You look at the technical ability of some of our players and it’s absolutely amazing we’re running away with the league.

    Fergie seems happy to just do enough to turn over the likes of Reading and forget that this club has its roots in entertaining the public; a public he has become increasingly distant from. After 40 years, I am United through and through and always will be, but our lack of energy & entertainment, regardless of the results, is the antithesis of our club’s mantra. What satisfaction is there in grinding out the league yet singularly failing to improve against the meaningful benchmarks of the best in Europe?

    19, 20, 21 is phenomenal, but it’s an improvement on 3 that will put this club where it should be. Call me harsh, but we’re currently settling for ‘just about enough’ and with our resources, from the top down, we should be doing better.

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