12-time FA Cup champions On Saturday night, Manchester United will host Reading of the Championship for a fourth-round match at Old Trafford.
The Royals, who defeated fellow second-tier team Watford 2-0 at home, will face the Red Devils after the Red Devils defeated Everton 3-1 in the third round.
After defeating Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night, Man United has taken a step closer to earning their first trophy since 2017.
loan signing in January After goals from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, Wout Weghorst scored his first goal for the team to give the Red Devils a clear three-goal lead going into the next home leg.
Erik ten Hag’s team is now focused on the FA Cup. They come into the match on Saturday in excellent form at home, having won all 10 of their previous games at Old Trafford in all competitions while scoring 26 goals and allowing only four.
Man United, who are now fourth in the Premier League standings, have won all 14 of their home FA Cup games without losing, including two third-round triumphs over Reading in the previous six years (4-0 in 2017 and 2-0 in 2019).
The Royals have been defeated by the Red Devils in nine of their past ten FA Cup matches, but after losing to Middlesbrough on penalties in the fourth round of last year’s competition, they cannot be taken lightly on Saturday.
Reading have lost their previous two Championship games and given up six goals since defeating Watford in the FA Cup third round three weeks ago, with a 2-2 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers and a 4-0 thrashing by Stoke City last weekend.
There are no immediate concerns about relegation because the Royals, who have spent the previous ten years in the second division, have dropped to 14th in the rankings and are five points behind the playoff spots.
On Saturday, Paul Ince will take his Reading team back to his old team, Man United, where he played for six seasons and won 10 trophies, including two FA Cups in 1990 and 1994.
In its 151-year existence, Reading has never won the FA Cup, and in five of the last six seasons, they haven’t made it past the fourth round, including last season’s humiliating third-round loss to non-league team Kidderminster Harriers.
The Royals’ chances of pulling off an upset against Man United on Saturday seem slim given that they have lost seven of their most recent eight FA Cup games against Premier League opponents and have only triumphed once in their previous 22 encounters with the Red Devils overall. That victory came in the FA Cup, however, when they defeated the Red Devils 2-1 in a third-round replay in 1927.
Diogo Dalot (hamstring), Donny van de Beek (knee), and Axel Tuanzebe (back) will be out for Man United owing to injuries, while Luke Shaw (sickness) and Anthony Martial (leg) are also questionable and will be evaluated before start.
Jadon Sancho, though, has participated in team practice, according to Ten Hag, therefore the winger may be included in the matchday squad for the first time since October.
After serving a one-match suspension in midweek, Harry Maguire is eligible to play again and may replace Victor Lindelof or Lisandro Martinez at center back. David de Gea might sit out and be replaced in goal by either Tom Heaton or Jack Butland.
Despite Ten Hag’s declaration that he will field a “powerful” team against Reading, players like Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga, Facundo Pellistri, and Kobbie Mainoo are anticipated to get more playing time, either as starters or as substitutes.
Andy Carroll (ankle), Naby Sarr (knee), Sam Hutchinson (achilles), and Liam Moore (hamstring) will all be out for Reading due to injury, while Ovie Ejaria is expected to stay away from the first team after supposedly being advised to quit the club this month.
Teenage right-back Kelvin Abrefa, who scored in the third-round win against Watford, returned to action for the club’s Under-21s on Monday after overcoming a knee injury, and he may be included in the senior matchday squad on Saturday.
The four players who started off the bench against Stoke, Shane Long, Scott Dann, and Nesta Guinness-Walker, will be attempting to fight their way back into the starting lineup.
Heaton, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, McTominay, Fred, Mainoo, Elanga, Weghorst, and Garnacho might be Manchester United’s starting lineup.
Reading through a potential starting lineup: Lumley; Yiadom; Holmes; McIntyre; Hoilett; Hendrick; Fornah; Loum; Baba; Ince; Joao
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Manchester United, we declare. 3.0 Reading
Even if Ten Hag opts to rest a few first-team regulars, Man United will be considered the heavy favorites to advance to the fifth round.
At Old Trafford, Ince will be hoping that his Reading team rises to the challenge, although defeating the Premier League’s heavyweights seems unlikely given that the Red Devils are expected to easily win.
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