Manchester United vs Reading Preview: Red Devils begin defence of FA Cup against Stam's Royals

Manchester United vs Reading Preview: Red Devils begin defence of FA Cup against Stam's Royals

Jose Mourinho's side welcome the Royals to Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon looking to get their title defence of to a perfect start.

Brandon Sayer

Manchester United begin their defence of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon in the third round against Reading at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils won the competition last season after Jesse Lingard scored the winner in a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace at Wembley.

Hosts looking for eighth successive victory

They will be confident of putting up a good defence of their crown this year given that everyone at the club wants to try and win as many trophies as they can this season.

United also head into the game in sparkling form having won seven consecutive games in all competitions and they will be looking to make it eight this weekend and keep the great run going.

Visitors in good form themselves

It won't be easy though as Reading themselves are in good form having won three consecutive games in the Championship with the latest win a 3-2 victory away at Bristol City.

These wins have seen the Royals move up to third in the Championship table, six points off automatic promotion which they will aim to achieve.

The return of a United legend

This game has an extra meaning to it aswell with Jaap Stam, who became the manager of Reading in June, making a return to Old Trafford after having three successful years at United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Stam is likely to get a great reception from the fans, who still adore the Royals manager as he was a proper defender for the club during his playing career.

United have a good record against the Royals

This is the first meeting between the sides since the 2012/13 season when an early Wayne Rooney goal sealed the win for the Red Devils.

Overall, in the FA Cup these sides have met on 13 occasions with the Red Devils winning the most recent one 3-2 in 2007.

Team News

In terms of team news news ahead of the game, Jose Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference that Eric Bailly is the only absentee for the game due to him being away at the African Cup of Nations.

It means that Luke Shaw and Rooney are fit and available for the game after injury. Mourinho confirmed that Rooney and Sergio Romero will start the game. There is also expected to be other changes to the team.

The Royals, on their other hand, will be without Stephen Quinn and Denis Rakels for the game due to injury. 

Stam though is expected to field a strong team despite the loss of these two players as he looks to try and set his side out to cause a real upset against the Red Devils.

Predicted lineups

Manchester United: (4-2-3-1) Romero; Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Rojo, Blind; Fellaini, Pogba; Martial, Mata, Rashford; Rooney.

Reading: (3-5-2) Al-Habsi; Moore, McShane, Blackett; Gunter, Evans, Williams, Swift, Obita; McCleary, Kermorgant.

Referee: Andre Marriner.