Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will attempt to make it five wins from five as his club begin their FA Cup campaign on Saturday at Old Trafford
Manchester United are aiming to win the FA Cup for just a second time since 2004 and will begin their quest for the trophy with a home fixture against struggling Championship side Reading.
The Red Devils have appeared a team reborn under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who became the first United boss since Matt Busby to win his first four league matches thanks to a 2-0 midweek win over Newcastle.
Saturday’s fixture sees Reading visit Old Trafford, with Jose Gomes’ side lying second from bottom in the second flight with just four wins to their credit all season.
Game Manchester United vs Reading
Date Saturday, January 5
Time 12:30pm GMT / 7:30am ET
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be streamed on ESPN+.
US TV channel Online stream
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 2 and streamed on BT Sport Live.
UK TV channel Online stream
BT Sport 2 BT Sport Live
Squads & Team News
Position Manchester United squad
Goalkeepers Grant, Romero
Defenders Jones, Dalot, Shaw, Young, Darmian, Lindelof
Midfielders Garner, McTominay, Pereira, Fellaini, Fred, Mata
Forwards Lukaku, Rashford, Martial, Chong, Sanchez
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have close to a full squad to select from for the visit of Reading, although Eric Bailly is still absent from the heart of the defence due to suspension and Chris Smalling is sidelined.
Marcos Rojo and Scott McTominay are doubtful, while Paul Pogba is unlikely to play after picking up a knock against Newcastle.
The new boss will use this match as a chance to allow his fringe players to impress and give the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez some extended game time.
Possible Man Utd Starting XI: Romero; Dalot, Lindelof, Jones, Young; Fred, Fellaini; Mata, Pereira, Sanchez; Lukaku
Position Reading squad
Goalkeepers Mannone, Jaakkola, Walker, Legg
Defenders Moore, Ilori, McShane, O’Shea, Obita, Blackett, Richards, Yiadom, Gunter
Midfielders Ezatolahi, Swift, Bacuna, Meyler, Edwards, Rinomhota, Kelly
Forwards Meita, Harriott, Barrow, McCleary, Sims, Popa, Aluko, Baldock, Bodvarsson, McNulty
Reading do not have their problems to seek prior to this match, with former Manchester United youngster Tyler Blackett suspended along with midfielder Leandro Bacuna.
On the injury front, Paul McShane, Jordan Obita and Saeid Ezatolahi are all missing, while Chris Gunter is doubtful.
Possible Reading Starting XI: Jaakkola; Yiadom, Ilori, O’Shea, Richards; Swift, Rinomhota, McCleary, Barrow, Aluko; Meite
Betting & Match Odds
Manchester United are red-hot favourites, priced at 1/8 with bet365. A draw can be backed at 9/1, while Reading are 25/1 outsiders to pull off a massive shock.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made it clear that he wants to extend his Manchester United stay long after the summer when his deal with the club is up, and he has gone about his business in the most positive of manners, winning his first four matches in charge.
Such success, though, has not come as a surprise to the Norwegian, who is gunning for a fifth in succession when Reading visit Old Trafford in the FA Cup on Saturday.
“Obviously when you come into a club like this you expect to win games,” he told reporters. “And when you win four, you expect to win the next one as well. I think we can win every single game.”
Since dispensing with Jose Mourinho after a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool, the Red Devils have seen their fortunes improve, with the team back to playing the exciting brand of football that they have traditionally been known for.
A 2-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday helped them to close within six points of fourth-placed Chelsea, though it is clear that their new boss is keen to impress on as many fronts as possible.
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Like Manchester United, Reading also changed manager in December, with Paul Clement sacked early in the month and Jose Gomes appointed three days before Christmas.
The hectic Christmas period, though, was not kind to the Royals, who suffered a 1-0 reverse at Millwall on Boxing Day, picked up a point via a scoreless draw against QPR three days later but were dismantled 4-1 at home by Swansea in the new manager’s first match at the Madejski Stadium.
Gomes lamented that his players were “scared” during the New Year’s Day fixture, in which they trailed 4-0 after 48 minutes, begging the question as to how they will react in front of a large crowd at Old Trafford.