FOOTBALL NEWS

30/11/2012 16:24, Report by Mark Froggatt
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Reading v United preview

Date, time and coverage: Saturday 1 December, 17:30 GMT. Watch it live on ESPN or follow the action live via radio and text commentary on ManUtd.com.

Form guide: Manchester United retained top spot in the Barclays Premier League on Wednesday with a deserved, if not slightly unconvincing, 1-0 win over West Ham. Victory also secured a third top-flight clean sheet this season and maintained a single-point advantage of title rivals Manchester City. At the other end of the table, Reading are positioned in the relegation zone with just nine points on the board. The Royals head into Saturday’s match on the back of a disappointing result at Villa Park, where they lost 1-0 to Aston Villa.

Betting: Michael Carrick has called on United to build on Wednesday’s clean sheet against the Hammers with more displays of defensive strength. As a result, why not back the Reds to beat Reading without conceding a goal at generous odds of 7/5?

Ins and outs: Sir Alex Ferguson has no new injury worries and is boosted by the return of Paul Scholes, who has completed his one-match suspension. The United legend might partner Anderson in midfield, after the Brazilian impressed from the start in midweek. Reading are without Chris Gunter, Jimmy Kebe, Alex McCarthy, Danny Guthrie and Jem Karacan.

Last meeting: Two late second-half goals from Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo secured an uninspired 2-0 win for United against a well-disciplined Reading side, who should have taken the lead through Dave Kitson. “It was a really open match,” Sir Alex said of the January 2008 match. “Our own attacking play wasn't at its best and more care was needed up front. We scored at the right time and held on.”

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