Manchester United travel to The Madejski Stadium on Saturday to take on Reading as they look to register their third successive win after impressive displays against London clubs Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United to remain top of the table by a slender point in front of noisy neighbors Manchester City as they look to pile on the pressure against Roberto Mancini’s men. Robin van Persie’s goal in the first minute was enough for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men against a plucky West Ham side at Old Trafford on Wednesday night but even the wily, old Scotsman will know his team will have to life their game if they want to get a result against Reading at The Madejski, where they have been in good form of late.
United lead the Premier League table from City with 33 points from 14 games and with the halfway stage of the season approaching, it is becoming clearer that the two Manchester clubs will be the ones fighting for the title at the end of April, with Chelsea’s challenge almost on the wane due to their own problems. Moreover, with City managing to stay in touch with hard earned victories against Wigan and before that as well, United know that they do not have too much room for errors, especially with the derby date coming up in a week’s time.
The Red Devils played in their usual swashbuckling manner against The Hammers but in spite of all their efforts, they couldn’t break down the stubborn defense of the London club after van Persie’e goal after 33 seconds. But what will please Sir Alex Ferguson very much is the fact that his team managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time in 14 games, and in spite some good chances falling to the West Ham players, the defense of Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans managed to hold their own and ended the game with a blank on the other side.
Sir Alex is expected to field the same side as in defense as he looks to keep Rio Ferdinand fresh for the Manchester derby and if they manage a similar display against Reading, he might even opt for Smalling and Evans for the back four. The best thing about the United defense now is the form of Rafael and Patrice Evra and if they manage to hold their own, United will have no worries.