Manchester United v Reading: FA Cup fourth round – live | FA Cup
37 mins: Antony launches another United attack, this time square to Casemiro, who balls his heel from Holmes into the box and loops up. Weghorst reacts first, jumping to nod the ball through goal from the right, and Rashford waits at the far post to head home from a sharp angle. Lumley shovels him, but not before he crosses the line. But wait: a VAR check rules out an offside against Weghorst in the build-up.
33 mins: Antony collects the ball in the right backcourt and sprints the length of the pitch with it at his feet. He cuts inside but rather than go for goal he slides into Bruno, running into the box, whose shot from the inside right channel is dragged just wide of the far post.
“Weghorst and McGuire are such galoompers,” writes Jeff Sax. “I don’t know what they do in the team.” Harsh?
26 mins: Another run ahead of Malacia, another block from Holmes. This time it’s Eriksen’s shot after the half-cleared ball fell to him on the edge of the box. Then Antony rushes in once more and with a nice early pass he picks off Bruno, who tries to pass the ball into the top corner 15 yards out but puts it just over the bar.
22 mins: Rashford feeds Malacia down the left, and the full-back dives in a cross which Reading tries to clear. The ball lands at the feet of Weghorst, who tries to shoot for the first time at the six-yard corner but Holmes passes with a desperate lunge and heroically blocks. A minute later, Antony tries the Robben again, but this time he sails.
18 mins: United set up a quick attack, with Bruno, Antony and Eriksen advancing the ball sharply. He finds himself at the feet of the Brazilian, who Robbens has forced his way in from the right and goes for the curler in the far corner. The ball flashes right next to it.
14 mins: After a clever backheel from Casemiro, Weghorst fires a late sliding tackle from Holmes from around 30 yards out. Rashford blames the free-kick goals with Venom, Lumley dives to save and Eriksen’s follow-up is blocked by the sprawling Loum.
10 minutes: Casemiro added a note of visible quality to this United midfielder: everything he does is assured and mostly perfect. Wan-Bissaka has fun tonight, moving forward once again to feed Antony in a good position but the winger slips. Andy Carroll has a big, fuzzy beard right now and looks a bit like the villain of Happy Valley.
8 mins: The Dane whips his free-kick towards the far corner of the goal but doesn’t bend enough and the ball flies wide.
7 minutes: Better connection between Antony and Wan-Bissaka, but this time the center of the latter does not find a United shirt. Rashford then finds Weghorst and when he collects the ball on the edge of the box he leaps past Hoillett to win the foul. Eriksen stands over the ball.
5 minutes: Antony finds Wan Bissaka next to the box with a clever muscle pass and the right-back’s low cross is just behind Weghorst, whose backflick doesn’t quite come off. Reading erase the resulting corner.
4 mins: Carroll gets a taste of action for the first time, grappling with Lindelof in a fight that leaves the man hobbling. Hendrick draws a foul from Casemiro at the entrance to the area. Tom Ince carefully places his shot in the center of the united wall.
2 min : United kick off and quickly get a feel for the ball, with the midfield and back four batting for a long time before a loose pass from Casemiro gave Reading the chance to counter. Bruno bursts a gut to make it come back and sweep.
The teams are out at Old Trafford and just up the M61, Spurs picked up a 3-0 win over Preston. More on this here:
Harry Maguire vs. Andy Carroll should be a lot of fun. Maguire is playing for his future at Old Trafford, and Carroll is the dictionary definition of ‘a handful’. Together they weigh 166 kg, which is exactly the weight of an average reindeer. Not really.
United hosted Reading twice in the past six years and on both occasions had no trouble seeing them go. In 2017, Wayne Rooney equaled Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record in a 4–0 win; two years later, Romelu Lukaku secured a 2-0 win for the home side. In fact, Reading have beaten today’s opponents just once in their history… 96 years ago. But there is a first time for everything.
A pre-game reading pointon the return of the Old Trafford anti-hero:
True to his word, Ten Hag took his strongest team out pretty close, resisting the urge to play Kobbie Mainoo or even Alejandro Garnacho from the start. Harry Maguire replaces Lisandro Martínez in the only change from Wednesday’s win.
Ince Jr starts for visitors, as is Andrew Thomas Carroll, so with Wout Weghorst in the lead for United, both of these teams will be led by big, scary bullies. Adorable stuff.
Hi team news!
united man: Man United: De Gea; Malacia, Lindelof, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Casemiro, Eriksen, Fernandes; Rashford, Weghorst, Antoine. Subs: Heaton, Martinez, Varane, Williams, Fred, Mainoo, Pellistri, Elanga, Garnacho
Reading: Lumley, Hoilett, Baba, Yiadom (C), McIntyre, Holmes, Hendrick, Loum, Ince, Joao, Carroll. Subs: Bouzanis, Guinnes-Walker, Mbengue, Dann, Craig, Fornah, Azeez, Long, Meite
“We have to do everything to bring home a trophy.” Those were the words of Erik ten Hag following Manchester United’s waltz past Nottingham Forest on Wednesday to sufficiently book their ticket to the EFL Cup final. Now attentions turn to the other domestic cup and right now it’s all going Erik, with United’s only defeat since the World Cup break coming in last weekend’s thriller against the leaders of the Arsenal league. Ten games, 23 scored, six conceded and – finally – zero selfish smoothing that exhausts everyone’s will to live. What’s not to like?
Then it’s reading, the kind of excited underdog who would have made Old Trafford fear the worst last year, but 12 months on seems like the perfect fodder for a lasting victory. Especially as they have won one out of five and come here after a 4-0 by stroke that led manager Paul Ince to say his players had ‘let the club down’. A win at Old Trafford is a big ask for them, but stranger things have happened.
Ince will certainly be delighted for his team to impress on the big stage, just like Ince Jr (aka Tom) who is of course part of the visiting staff. As for United, a few sensible changes could give one or two youngsters at the club the chance to do the same.
Kick off at 8 p.m. GMT.