United were dealt an unexpected boost ahead of kick-off as Manchester City were held to a home draw by Everton, giving the Reds a chance to build a points cushion ahead of next weekend’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Perhaps with one eye on the looming cross-city trip and following midweek toil against Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United, Sir Alex Ferguson made three changes to his starting line-up, with Rio Ferdinand, Darren Fletcher and Ashley Young in for Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley and Chicharito respectively.
The visitors’ attack looked sharp in their approach play during the opening exchanges, only for the final pass to go awry. There was no such profligacy from the hosts after eight minutes, however. For the tenth time in fifteen Barclays Premier League games, the Reds fell behind when Jonny Evans’ clearing header fell perfectly for Robson-Kanu to take a touch and rifle a finish high into Anders’ Lindegaard’s net.
With United renowned for overturning deficits and Reading known for surrendering leads, both sides’ form hinted at what would subsequently unfold, yet few could have imagined how quickly the game would be turned on its head.
The Royals led for less than five minutes before United drew level in stunning fashion. A sweeping move involving van Persie and Anderson