Manchester United take on Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday. The fixture brings back an old friend in the shape of Jaap Stam. A legendary defender for United as well as AC Milan, the Dutchman is performing magnificently in his first senior management role down in the Championship. The Royals currently sit third in England’s second tier and have received praise for their attractive brand of football. Little surprise given Stam’s Ajax background.
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United are flying high at the minute under Jose Mourinho. The club are on an unbeaten run not seen since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. Their 2-0 victory over West Ham at the Olympic Stadium was the 13th game of an unbeaten streak and the sixth win in succession for the Red Devils. Barring a banana skin, this should be the seventh win on that run. It also presents an opportunity for the likes of Marcus Rashford to show why he should be getting more minutes in the team after his game-changing appearance against the Hammers.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in red-hot form for United. Having scored 18 goals in all competitions this season, he was rewarded with the PFA Fans’ Player of the Month award.
The 35-year-old striker shows no signs of slowing down but we finally be granted a rest by Mourinho for this fixture. The Special One will have the first leg of the League Cup semi-final to think about on Tuesday. With games continuing to come thick and fast, fans can expect plenty of rotation. Juan Mata has impressed when coming off the bench in recent matches.
His input in the wins over Middlesbrough and West Ham were vital. Timothy Fosu-Mensah may finally get a look in. The teenager’s barely played any minutes in any competitions for Mourinho this season. United should win this comfortably by more than one goal.
Man United predicted XI: Romero, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Blind, Shaw, Tuanzebe, Schweinsteiger, Young, Martial, Rooney, Rashford
Reading predicted XI: Al Habsi, McShane, Gunter, Moore, Blackett, Beerens, van den Berg, Williams, Swift, Kermorgant, McCleary